For those of you who have been following our updates, Royal Akarana Yacht Club recently sent four of our junior sailors to Germany to compete in the RS Feva world championships. The format for racing was two days of qualifying racing, six races, that would separate the sailors into Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets. 324 sailors (162 boats) competed on the race course, all with the intent of being in the Gold Fleet and racing for the number one spot in the world.
The teams sent from RAYC consisted of Eli Liefting & Rose Dickson along with Hamish McLaren & Henry McLachlan. Before leaving New Zealand, these kids invested around 100 hours of their time, on the water training with their coaches as well as competing at the first ever New Zealand RS Feva National Championships. It was the fantastic results achieved at the National Champs that opened the door to the World Champs (our teams placing 1st and 2nd in the junior division). However after putting in plenty of hours on the water since then, they drastically improved their knowledge of sailing, as well as their familiarity in the boats.
With the hard work put in and the flights booked to Germany, the team was ready! The team left New Zealand on 12th July (after getting a final bit of sailing in at the RAYC winter series). They were the first to arrive in Travemunde (North-East of Hamburg) and they settled in to the venue, checking out the race course and waiting for the competition to arrive. On the 16th of July, their chartered boats arrived, and so did the first of their competition. They set their boats up and took them out for a practice sail. The conditions were light and shifty, they knew it was going to be hard work racing here!
After a few days training in Travemunde, and learning some tips off the British team, the opening ceremony announced the start of the racing!
“Today’s wind was a gusty and shifty offshore wind of 8 – 15 knots… With 162 boats from 19 Nations and our team from NZ attending our first ever Feva Worlds day one was always going to be a big unknown.
“Pleasingly the team has passed with flying colours with both crews placing top 10 results in their respective 54 boat fleets. After 3 races Hamish and Henry are sitting 13th overall, Eli and Rose sitting 27th overall (out of 162 boats)” – Scott McLaren.
The first day of racing was incredibly pleasing! A solid start by both crews saw them exceeding expectations, both teams managing top 10 finishes in their respective fleets. Hamish and Henry placed 4th, 14th, 7th in their respective races while Eli and Rose placed 7th,14th,17th.
Day two saw another round of awesome results, again both teams placed inside the top 10 of their fleets for at least one race. These consistent results at the top end of the fleet meant they both qualified for the Gold Fleet! A fantastic achievement in itself!
The gold fleet racing was intense! With the 54 top teams in the world competing for the title, the NZ boats slipped back a little on the leaderboard. The conditions were also intensely tricky with a very light offshore breeze delaying the start and allowing for only two races each day where three were scheduled. Heading into the final day of racing our teams were placed 19th and 30th.
The final day saw conditions ranging from 8-12 knots. The first race was fantastic with Eli & Rose scoring a 14th and Hamish & Henry a solid 23rd. In the last race Eli & Rose were fighting hard for the front row on the start line, unfortunately they were caught out and got scored a Black Flag for being over early, unfortunate in such a competitive fleet. This left them 34th in the overall standings, a very good achievement that we are all very proud of! Hamish & Henry could only manage 40th in the final race, which was counted as a drop. This left them in 20th position overall and 3rd in the under-13 division! Another fantastic achievement!
Full results can be found here.
These young sailors have made us proud. Competing at an international regatta, flying the New Zealand flag and the RAYC burgee high and achieving results that have made people back home take notice! Some tired young bodies have now flown back into the country, and after a rest day (or two!) they will be back in the classroom studying. Look out for them in the future!
I am looking forward to hearing the blow-by-blow account of racing when they pop in to visit!
RAYC is holding a welcome-home sausage sizzle on the 9th August after Winter Series racing, where these young sailors will be addressed and congratulated by Commodore Nathan Bonney. Please come along and show your support of these fantastic young sailors!