At the conclusion of racing in the Yachting New Zealand Youth Sail regatta, Yachting New Zealand announced the team to represent New Zealand at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship to be held in Poland this year.
The final day of the regatta was a mixture of frustration and excitement for all involved especially as some class winners came down to the final leg of the final races in the series.
The Hobie 16 class was nail biting all day as the battle between north island and south came to head between Auckland sailors Michael THORPE and Rosie SARGISSON against Dunedin sailors Rory GODMAN and Corey BRUCE. These two crews have battled it out all week but prior to the last two race both were equal on points. The last race was won by Thorpe, winning by a two point margin overall.
The 420 double handed class was just as close at the end, with Alastair THOMPSON and Scott ILLINGWORTH being put under pressure by Northland sailors Reuben CORBETT and Bradley FARRAND who continued to impress selectors throughout the week with some top results, but it wasn't quite enough to take out the regatta. To win the regatta, Corbett/Farrand needed to win with Thompson and Illingworth in fifth place. They did win the last race but Thompson and Illingworth squeezed in to fourth place to take out the regatta on a count back. Olivia POWRIE and Sarah BILKEY won the girls fleet and will return once again to the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships.
The laser fleet only had one race today but the clear leader Blair MCLAY won by a resounding 14 points. At only 17 years of age, this sailor has a bright future ahead. On a similar note Jo ALEH also was a clear leader in the Laser Radial fleet finishing 7 points of nearest rival Jane MACKY. Both these sailors are in their last year in the youth fleet so its really pleasing to see Grace NIXON, a young newcomer to the class finished in third place. Jo will be looking to improve on her placing at the Youth Worlds last year and will be trying for a podium finish later in July this year.
Boardsailors Antonio COZZOLINO and Hayley THOM both won their respective fleets and now have a big task ahead to follow in the footsteps of fellow boardsailors Tom Ashley and JP Tobin who have previously medalled at the ISAF Youth Worlds.
The 2004 Yachting New Zealand Youth Sailing Team has been announced as follows:
Jo Aleh - Single handed girls
Blair McLay - Single handed boys
Alastair Thompson - Double handed boys
Scott Illingworth - Double handed boys
Olivia Powrie - Double handed girls
Sarah Bilkey - Double handed girls
Antonio Cozzolino - Boardsailing boys
Hayley Thom - Boardsailing girls
Michael Thorpe - Catamaran open
Rosie Sargisson - Catamaran open
"The standard of sailors was very high at this regatta, and I look forward to seeing these sailors perform at the World Championships later in the year",
commented Yachting New Zealand selector John O'Brien.
Further details are available on the Yachting New Zealand website at the address below.