Josh Junior and his crew of Matthew Steven and Chris Jones, representing Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, have won the Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship in convincing style.
After leading the round robins in an enviable position – having lost only one race, Junior made his way into the semi finals and defeated fellow countryman Scott Burling with two straight wins yesterday.
Coming into today's grand final, Junior was match fit and on a winning streak. PRO Denis Thompson set the course in Rushcutters Bay taking advantage of the 9-11 knot westerly breeze.
The Grand Final sail-off got underway after a short AP, due to one of the boats in the petit final having to be replaced due to a broken vang.
In the first match Junior was given a penalty for early entry, which he carried all through the match undertaking his penalty turn just prior to crossing the finish line. Junior led Will Tiller (RNZYS) throughout the match.
In Match Two Junior controlled the race from the pre-start manoeuvres to the top mark, leading Tiller throughout the match and taking the win by two boat lengths. In what was the final match of the day, Junior again received a pre-start penalty, but he managed to wipe this off soon after the start by inflicting a penalty on Tiller. Displaying good racing tactics at the mark roundings, Junior managed to keep out Tiller and sail home by three boat lengths to clinch the Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship with three straight wins in the Grand Final.
Commenting on his win, Junior said “This has been a great regatta for us – it's our first win on Aussie soil and I am ecstatic. The regatta had a great mix of conditions that really suited us.”
“To have three New Zealand teams on the podium when the competition has been really close it's truly fantastic,” concluded Junior
In the Petit Final, the sail-off for third and fourth places it was two straight wins for Scott Burling and his crew of Adrian Short and Donovan Neill representing Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron over the CYCA's team of Will Mackenzie, Hamish Hardy and Will Parker.
Match One would prove to be the toughest with Mackenzie received a pre-start penalty for contact which he carried throughout the race trying to inflict a penalty back onto Burling. Mackenzie led at the top mark, sailing away to a five boat length lead on the downwind run only to see this evaporate after rounding the bottom mark. After playing a game of cat and mouse to the top mark on the second lap, it was Mackenzie who rounded first, with Burling close behind. Burling shadowed Mackenzie all the way to the finish line with Mackenzie unable to shake off Burling to undertake his penalty turn. Burling crossed the finished line whilst Mackenzie was undertaking his penalty turn.
PRO Denis Thompson shared his thoughts on the championship. “The level of sailing skills showcased in this championship was very high. There was close racing in most of the matches and the regatta benefited from consistent breezes, which made for very pleasant sailing.”
Managing Director Musto Australasia Duncan Curnow said “Musto is proud to be associated with an event that supports the future leaders of Australian sailing. As one of the founding sponsors of the CYCA's Youth Sailing Academy, we have seen some great action on water this week, together with great camaraderie between competitors.”
“Congratulations to all competitors for such a high standard of competition and to the winners Josh Junior, Matthew Steven and Chris Jones, from Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington, New Zealand. Good luck in the Laser class in the Sail Sydney regatta in next weekend,” concluded Curnow.
For final championship results please click here
By Jennifer Crooks