13 Feb 2018
The 2018 Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Cup at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has been won by Leonard Takahashi & his RNZYS Performance Programme Pacific Racing Team of Josh Wijohn, Taylor Balogh, Ibuki Koizumi and George Lee Rush. Sailed in the Elliott 7 Click title to read more... fleet of the RNZYS, the event included youth match racing teams from around the world. The top performers, making it to the semis however, were teams from the RNZYS and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.
In the semis James Wilson from the RNZYS Youth Training Programme was the top seed, he chose to sail against Finn Tapper from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. which left Takahashi taking on Jordan Stevenson (RNZYS YTP) in the other semi-final. Wilson won the semis 3-2 over Tapper. In the second semi-final Takahashi was up 2-1 over Stevenson. However, in the pre start of the fourth match, with both teams pushing each other in the start box in the driving rain, and with the boats in the shallows and very close to the rocks, Stevenson had nowhere to go, ending up on the rocks off the Westhaven sea-wall. Stevenson was black flagged and had to be towed off. Takahashi winning the semis 3-2.
Demonstrating excellent boat speed and eventually charging down the final leg of race 3 Takahashi & team took out the grand final 3-0 to win the Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Cup. Commenting on the win Takahashi said “Despite the score it was really tight racing, we gave ourselves a few penalties in the starts but good crew work and boat speed from the guys allowed us claw back and get a good enough lead to wipe them out. I’ve been sailing these boats for about six years now so it feels good to get the win. I’m really happy at how we were able to take this one out, it’s a big one for us and we’re looking forward to Centerport in Wellington this weekend.”
The testing conditions were difficult for sailors, race management and umpires. In these conditions the Elliott 7 yachts proved once again just how well designed and built they are, with no gear breakages or damage.