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21 April 2005, 10:34 am
Tough Start
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YouthSail 2005
Auckland, New Zealand

Racing at YouthSail 2005 got underway today in strong winds that tested the Under 19 sailors to their limits. The prize is high though, with a place on the New Zealand Youth Team for July's Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Busan, Korea up for grabs.
The more experienced youth sailors came though in the first two races of the twelve race regatta at Murrays Bay in Auckland, New Zealand.

Yachting New Zealand Regional Coordinator, and YouthSail Judge, Neil VERRY described the conditions.

'It was survival sailing out there today,' said VERRY. 'There was a strong chop with the breeze, which strengthened through the afternoon. There was some damage to some boats. It was great to see the kids having a blast despite it though. There were some big smiles on faces out there.'

The leading boat changed throughout racing in the Laser fleet with Blair McLAY from Torbay Sailing Club coming out on top at the end of day one with two wins. McLAY has shown excellent form this season, his best performance being second at the Laser National Championship in Napier.

In the Olympic Class Laser Radial, Cushla HUME-MERRY from Wellington sits equal with Olivia POWRIE, both on three points. POWRIE sailed a 420 with the New Zealand Youth Team last year and has moved, this year into the Laser Radial single-handed boat.

Strong interest has provided a 21 boat fleet in the 420 class and some strong competition. As with the other Youth Trial classes the regatta winning boys' and girls' 420 pairs will become eligible for selection into the New Zealand Youth Team to travel to Korea, and competition is fierce.

The top three spots are tied up all with four points. There is good representation from around the country amongst the leading crews, all showing they can handle the breezy conditions. Peter BURLING and Bruce KENNEDY of Tauranga are tied with Chris DAWSON and Scott ILLINGWORTH, both from Auckland and Riley DEAN and John LITTLE from Naval Point Club in Christchurch.

Georgina HILL and Michelle KENNEDY from Kohimarama Yacht Club were the top girls' pair on the board at the end of the day.

Competition is fierce in the boys' Mistral Boardsailing also, with Antonnio COZZOLINO and Correy PLANT all tied up on three points, both recording a first and second on day one. Steffanie WILLIAMS leads the girls' boardsailing demonstrating strength and experience.

Jodie Perkins (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The New Zealand 420 girls in the 2004 Youth Worlds:© Peter Bentley
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