BYC youth sailors compete in New Zealand

Local youth sailors from Balboa Yacht Club and California Yacht Club recently joined 14 teams of talented youth sailors from around the world to compete in the HARKEN Youth International Match Racing Championship 2013 at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

Teams from Sweden, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, along with three teams from the United States came together in Auckland, New Zealand, to battle it out for the HARKEN Cup.

The BYC team came in seventh place, and the teams from the Portland, Maine, and Chicago yacht clubs came in fifth and 10th, respectively.

The BYC team consisted of Christophe Killian, helm; Harrison Vandervort, main; Megan Roach, trim; Jack Martin, bow; and Frankie Dair, pit, from California Yacht Club. For the three USA teams, Megan was the only female competitor; however, some of the international teams were co-ed along with some all-female teams.

The HARKEN Youth International Match Racing Championship is sailed in the squadron's fleet of 10 Elliott 7-meter yachts in a round-robin fashion where each competitor races against each competitor in a one-on-one race. The top four teams that accumulate the most "wins" advance to the finals.

The round-robin racing took three days to complete under a variety of wind conditions. On the first day, the breeze filled in the afternoon to 10 to 15 knots and summer sunshine on Auckland Harbor.

The BYC team faced the tougher teams early in the round-robin and only came out with one win out of seven races on the first day. The BYC team had a very successful second day with four wins from four races and made a significant jump up the leader board.

Killian was quoted in the HARKEN media release stating that the day was light and shifty.

"If you had one bad shift, it was all over, but we were lucky enough to be on the right side of the shift for all of them," he said.

For the third day of racing, the race was delayed again due to lack of wind and the race area was moved closer to the harbor entrance. Once the sea breeze came in, it quickly died and a 60-degree shift making for challenging conditions. The BYC team achieved one win out of three races. At the conclusion of the round-robin, the BYC team was in a three-way tie for seventh place.

Fortunately, some of the wins achieved by the BYC team were against the competitor's that BYC was tied against, so the BYC team held on to seventh place and advanced to the quarter finals.

The quarter finals were unable to be completed due to a lack of wind, so the top four teams went straight into the semi-finals. At the conclusion, the competitor from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron won the regatta.

The HARKEN Youth International Match Racing Championship was the first competition for the new BYC team and they are pleased with finishing in the top eight.

The team would like to thank the coaching support that they received from sailing experts, including Alan Andrews, boat designer; Don Becker, international umpire; Mike Pinkney, USA Paralympic coach; the SODA clinic where Payson Infelise provided the coaching; and Laurie Jury, who provided coaching during the event.

The team also wishes to thank the donations from the Maritime Sciences & Seamanship Foundation and individual contributions which made this event possible. The BYC team is looking forward to enhancing their match racing skills and look to competing in next year's event.

BRAD ROACH lives in Newport Beach.

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