Kiwi youth sailors win UK Youth Nationals in 29er + Video

Markus and Jack racing at 2013 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland
Gareth Cooke

New Zealand’s Markus Sommerville and Jack Simpson have won the 29er division at the 2013 RYA Youth National Championships which wrapped up on April 5th in Largs, Scotland.

The victory bodes well for Markus and Jack, both Wakatere Boating Club sailors, who have been selected to represent New Zealand in the 29er at the 2013 ISAF Sailing Youth World Championships on in July in Cyprus, and were using this regatta as a lead-up event.

The 2013 RYA Youth Nationals acts as the British selection event for their national team to represent at the ISAF Youth Worlds, so Britain’s best youth sailors in the 29er were all there vying for selection, and the qualifying fleet included 50 boats.

'I’m really happy that we came away with a win. We were second coming into today so we have pulled it off so I’m pretty happy,' said New Zealand’s Marcus Somerville speaking after the last race.

Markus and Jack pictured here racing at 2013 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland
Gareth Cooke
'The event has been run really well and they have made it feel like a major event which is great at a Youth event. We came away with the win which makes it feel even better. In New Zealand we had two boats trialling for the ISAF Youth Worlds spot last year and we had about 10 this year so there is a lot more competition here especially when there are around 50 boats. The UK competitors are really good and some are the best in the world so it’s good to see how we go against them.'

Coach Jim Maloney was in snowy Largs, Scotland with the kiwi pair and reports that Markus and Jack sailed a terrific regatta, and thoroughly deserved the win, but they also learnt some valuable lessons along the way;

'Overall Markus and Jack sailed a really good event winning four from seven races sailed in qualifying. They dropped a third, and carried their net points through to finals from there,' Jim describes.

The competition stepped up once they reached the finals series but the kiwis managed to deliver results consistent enough to keep them out in front and ultimately take the victory.

'They learnt that the start line in Europe is different from the start line at home, they were OCS in a few races but they recovered well and sailed tactically through the fleet. They looked good both upwind and downwind,' says Jim.

'It was valuable for them to discover some weaknesses in their performance that they weren’t aware of before this regatta. Now they know what they have to work on to be better prepared for the ISAF Youth Worlds in July.'

Markus, Jack and Jim have returned to New Zealand with a full programme of training planned before they depart in early July for Cyprus.