470 Junior Worlds get underway at Takapuna on Saturday

Zella - Takapuna Boating Club’s committee boat - Day 2 - 2011 NZ 470 Nationals, Takapuna

Takapuna Boating Club is about to host their fourteenth world championship event: The 2012 470 Junior World Championships begin on 26th January 2012. With the Pre-worlds event finished, this popular sailing club on Auckland’s North Shore is ready for the main event to start.

'We’re quite accustomed to running large scale world championship events, but this one has been during a more difficult funding environment than most due to the Rugby World Cup.' Takapuna Boating Club’s commodore Evelyn Johnson is satisfied that now everything has now fallen into place before the event begins.

'We’ve been very fortunate to gain some sponsorship and this event wouldn’t be happening without the support of our volunteers, the Auckland Council, SPARC, Victoria Cruising Club Trust and Lion Foundation in particular.'

The 470 Class Junior World Championships begin for more than thirty boats from thirteen countries on Friday 27 January, including three NZL women’s entries and six NZL open entries. Full racing commences Saturday 28th January and continues through until the medal races on Friday 3rd February, 2012.

As at any world championship event, the competition is predicted to be fierce. Many of the teams entered for this event have just finished the ISAF World Sailing Championships in the 470 class (all ages) in Perth.Several of the New Zealand entrants have previously represented New Zealand at the ISAF Youth Worlds, including James Turner, Ben Goodwin, Sarah Berry, Emma Berry, Vicki Francis, Erica Dawson and Bianca Barbarich-Bacher.

Sarah and Emma Berry, sisters from Wellington’s Worser Bay Boating Club have been quiet on the local scene lately, but have medalled at a World Championship in the 420 class off Takapuna Beach in 2007.

'I love sailing at Takapuna, it’s one of my favourite places and there’s always a great breeze'. Emma Berry is looking forward to getting back into the 470 class for this event with her sailing partner and sister Sarah. 'We’ve both been concentrating on University lately... I am going into third year of Law and Sarah is going into second year of design.'

These two young women have a long record of sailing together both within New Zealand and internationally and much of their success is due to the strength of their relationship. Emma explained: 'It’s really good sailing with my sister. In 2007 at the Takapuna 420 World Championships we sailed our best because we got on ridiculously well and we’re getting along quite well at the moment too.'

There is another team of siblings to look out for at this event, Australian juniors Matthew and Robert Crawford were the winners of the pre-worlds event which ended on January 22nd. The Crawford brothers were closely followed by New Zealand’s two selected Olympic 470 teams, Paul Snow Hansen with Jason Saunders, and Jo Aleh with Olivia Powrie.

Both of these high performance teams from the NZL Sailing Team are older than the age allowance for this event. To be eligible to compete in the 470 Junior Championships, athletes shall not have attained his or her 22 birthday before the end of the year of the Championship.

New Zealanders Luke Stevenson (Tauranga) and Sam Bullock (Takapuna) are another one of the NZ crews to watch, having gained one of the top junior results at the 2011 470 Class World Championships at Perth in December, and a fifth place finish at the Takapuna pre-worlds event despite some gear breakage. Gareth Moore (Christchurch) and Ben Goodwin (Napier) are in a similar situation coming back from Perth, and straight into a fourth place finish at the regatta this past weekend. A new combination of James Turner (Auckland), who also competed in Perth, has teamed up with 420 World Championship Class Silver medallist Finn Drummond (Auckland) will also be a team who could make an impression as the regatta progresses.

Planning for this event has been approximately 18 months in the build up, and could not be possible without the support of numerous sponsors and volunteers. There will be a team of approximately 80 volunteers assisting on and off the water led by Principal Race Officer Ian Clouston and Race Secretary Janet Watkins.

'This event simply could not exist without the support of Auckland Council, SPARC, YNZ, Oceanbridge, Harken, OKI and the Lion Foundation.' Takapuna’s Commodore Evelyn concluded ' We also wish to thank Murrays Bay Sailing Club and Torbay Sailing Club for the use of their RIB’s for Race Officers, and also to Sailutions, Harken and The Water Shed for their contributions toward prizes for the competitors'.

Schedule of events:
27 January: Practice Race 3:00pm
27 January: Opening Ceremony 7:00pm
28 January- 2 February: Racing commences, 11:00am daily
3 February: Medal Race
3 February: Closing Ceremony 5:00pm

Head down to Takapuna beach and enjoy the atmosphere or watch the action 27th Jan – 3rd Feb 2012! Or follow the action live online the 2012 470 Junior World Championships Facebook Page.

More information including results can be found on the event website www.470sailing.org.nz