The semi-finals got under way in a moderate southerly breeze. The racing was set up in Evans bay right behind the airport. It was a beautiful race track with nice flat water and constant breeze.
As the leader from round robin, we got to choose who to race in our semis and selected Eliza Wilkinson for RPNYC. In the first race, an unforced error off the start line saw us jump the gun and therefore have to return back to the start. This error, compounded with a favourable right hand shift saw Wilkinson take a convincing win. The team knew that they were quick and that they had to get to the early right hand side of the track. The next two races the team improved on the upwind speed and strategy and sailed on to take the next two races, leading around all marks.
George Anyon (RNZYS) defeated Oakley Marsh (RPNYC) 2-1 in the other semi, and thus proceeded to the finals to race against Sarah Parker (RPAYC)
The first race saw Anyon get a better start and carry a 6 length lead around the top mark. The team however did not give up and put in a great battle, doing great sets and drops, helping them close the gap considerably. By the final leg, another great set saw them only two lengths behind and "flying" Anyon on the downwind. As the boats approached the finish line, Parker surged at the line for a photo finish but just lost to Anyon buy the smallest of margins.
In the next race, both boats got off to an even start, with Anyon showing a slight speed edge upwind. On the downwinds we managed to close the gaps, however it was not enough.
For the final race, another similar start saw the boats get off to an even start with Anyon this time starting to windward of parker. Anyon managed to "live" to windward quite well and had a better trim set up and was able to take us by the port tack lay line .
On the downwind we made a big comeback, and managed to get in touch with him at the bottom mark, with both boats arguing over who had rights to go around the bottom mark. The umpires signalled a green flag, meaning no penalty, and we were forced again to live in dirty air going upwind. The damage was done on the final upwind giving Anyon a big lead, which he hung onto to take the win and the regatta.
I am very proud of the team who sailed a very good regatta. Whilst they are obviously disappointed to not take the win, they came off the water knowing they did their best and were beaten by the better team on the day.
This marks the third consecutive youth regatta where RPAYC has reached the finals. Those three regattas have had three different helmsman/helmswomen & team combinations, which shows the strength of the current squad.
Next week we go to Auckland to compete in the Nesspresso International Youth Match Racing Regatta where we will have two teams competing.
Thank you again to The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and its Members for your continued support of the Youth Development program.