Yachting: Kiwis among medals at youth champs

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Zak Merton, left, and Sam Barnett from the Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club won silver medals at a major regatta in the UK. Photo/File
Zak Merton, left, and Sam Barnett from the Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club won silver medals at a major regatta in the UK. Photo/File

Tauranga sailors were among the medals for New Zealand at the RYA Youth National Championships Regatta which wrapped up on Friday in Weymouth in England.

The Kiwis collected one gold, two silver and two bronze medals across the range of skiff, double-handed and single-handed classes.

The major youth regatta provided an opportunity to race in big fleets against some tough competition in the lead-up to the pinnacle regatta in mid July in Tavira, Portugal - the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships.

The silver medals came from New Zealand's single-handed sailors with Trent Rippey (Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club) finishing a close second in the Laser Radial class, while Ali Nightingale (Charteris Bay Yacht Club) was the second girl in the Laser Radial.

Sam Barnett and Zak Merton (Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club), New Zealand's Boys' 420 representatives secured the bronze medal in the 420 class in Weymouth last week.

Barnett and Merton sailed in the 2013 NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team and finished fifth at last year's ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships; the pair have shown excellent form in 2014 to date winning the 2014 Australian Youth Trials Regatta and taking out the 420 class at 2014 Oceanbridge Sail Auckland.

Markus Somerville (Wakatere Boating Club) and Isaac McHardie (Hamilton Yacht Club) took the RYA Youth Nationals gold medal in the 29er skiff class after a tight battle with Britain's best pair Owen Bowerman and Morgan Peach.

Olivia Mackay and Abby Goodwin from the Napier Sailing Club were third female crew (and 9th overall in the 44-strong 420 fleet), with Patrick Haybittle 7th in the RS:X windsurfing.

Yachting New Zealand's Talent Development Manager Ian Neely was in Weymouth with the group, as part of the coaching team with Jim Malonley. "Both Jim and I were really happy with how the event went. It helped to confirm where we are strong, but more importantly highlighted the areas of focus for our team to work on over the next few months."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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