Phil Robertson has been crowned the Telecom New Zealand Match Racing Championship beating Josh Junior 3-1 in the final. Robertson joins Dean Barker, Chris Dickson, Gavin Brady & Rod Davis on the list of names engraved on the New Zealand Match Racing Cup.
For the first time in the Championship, a strong southerly breeze greeted the four skippers as they headed out on to the Waitemata Harbour to contest the finals. In the petit final, William Tiller
was 1-0 up on Reuben Corbett
. Corbett was a little too eager to get the match back on level pegging, crossing the start line early and gifting Tiller third place overall.
started the day knowing he was one up on Josh Junior
and his crew were determined to increase their 18 match unbeaten streak. However it was obvious Junior was not going to let Robertson have it all his own way and make the finals a clean sweep. Their matches produced toe to toe racing with both skippers sailing well in conditions more suited to the Wellington based skipper Josh Junior.
Junior in keeping the pressure on Robertson in the first race of the morning copped a penalty leaving Robertson 2-0 up going into the third flight. Junior pounced when an unusual slip in Robertson's crew work led to a bad kite hoist. Despite Robertson having a real crack at Junior on the last downwind leg, there was not enough run way to get past and Junior crossed the finish line a mere 2 seconds ahead of his rival. 2-1.
In what turned out to be the last race of the day, Robertson and his crew had a great start, but with Junior bringing the breeze with him all the way down the course and slowly closing the gap it was a nervous skipper & crew who finally crossed the finish line 6s ahead to claim the win and the Championships, 3-1.
"We had a lot of fun out there, but it was hard work. We had some tight matches, despite what the deltas might show. We sailed well today in the final, but we had to, as there was a strong breeze today and you are vulnerable if you go hunting penalties in that breeze - it's just not worth it
" said Robertson after being presented with the New Zealand Match Racing Cup.
I'm proud of where we finished in the Championships
" said Junior. "I only put together our crew five weeks ago and we have been practising about three times a week since. We feel we really stepped it up coming in to the finals and we're very pleased with our result. Phil sailed well and he was tough to beat. Coming 2nd for us is a great end to our Championships."
Robinson will be feeling buoyed by his team's performance. Next week they're off to compete in their Sunseeker Australia Cup in Perth in which Tiller & Corbett are also competing. That will be the last match racing event in their build up to the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia in December.
1 - Philip Robertson
2 - Josh Junior
3 - William Tiller
4 - Reuben Corbett
5 - Chris Dickson
6 - David Wood
7 - Daniel Pooley
8 - Samantha Osborne
9 - Byeongki Park
Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron website - www.rnzys.org.nz