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Harken Youth Match Racing Worlds: Australians surge to the front on Day 2

by Andrew Delves, RNZYS 28 Feb 22:48 NZDT 27 February 2020
Ted Blowers (GBR) © Andrew Delves

Both the Australian and New Zealand teams have taken charge on Day 2 of the Harken 2020 Youth Match Racing World Championship, supported by Barfoot & Thompson.

With Round Robin racing now complete, it's Finn Tapper who is the only one to come through unscathed, winning eleven from eleven and cementing his spot as the top seed heading into the quarterfinals. Tapper has been outstanding, showing a never-say-die attitude in all of his races, including a final leg come-from-behind win over American Jack Parkin which came down to another umpire decision on the line - a common theme so far in this regatta. Tapper has looked composed and almost unbeatable, and is taking a lot of confidence into the final two days of competition.

"We are going really well, we've sailed quite a bit together and we're working hard for each other out there. The main thing is we aren't making many mistakes, and even when we get a bit behind we manage to fight back and get ourselves back into the race. I'm happy with where we are at and we just need to keep doing what we are doing and take our momentum into tomorrow."

James Hodgson (AUS) and Jordan Stevenson are the next best with eight wins each, but Hodgson beat Stevenson in their match today which gives him second place overall. Hodgson had a rocky start to the regatta yesterday but had an immensely improved day today, not losing a race and showing the form he had last week when he won the Harken Youth International Match Racing Cup. Hodgson was a lot happier when he returned from the water, and had an interesting reason for his team's vast improvement.

"We watched Mean Girls last night and had a bit of team bonding session which I think helped us get our mojo back. But in all seriousness, I think things just went our way a bit more today, we weren't that bad yesterday we just didn't have much luck, but today it swung in our favour so we are right back in the game."

Jordan Stevenson (NZ) and his RNZYS Performance Programme Vento Racing looked like they were in good spirits, and it showed with their performance.

"We were having a lot of fun out there! We always sail well when we are having a good time and I think that's the most important part of sailing. To be third heading into the quarters is a good spot to be in so hopefully we can maintain that vibe and keep it going tomorrow."

Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZ) and his RNZYS PP Knots Racing team had a pretty big drop in form today, only winning two races and losing four to sit on seven round robin wins. However it's not all bad, they still sit in fourth place after getting some important wins on the board on Day 1.

"We were very average today and things just didn't go our way. Not really sure why but we are lucky we banked five wins yesterday otherwise we could've be in a bit of trouble. Tomorrow is another day and our main focus is to move on from it and go out there tomorrow and put it right."

Aurélien Pierroz (FRA) and Emil Kjaer (DEN) both finished on six wins a piece, which places them fifth and sixth respectively, and seals their spot in the top six. Both teams have been up and down so far, but have notched up wins when it counted against some of the top four teams, showing that they can still be a threat when finals racing gets under way.

Jack Parkin (USA), David Wood (USA), and Ted Blowers (GBR) are all on five wins, and are sure to be the favourites heading into the repecharge. But with only two more quarterfinal spots up for grabs, one of them will miss out, meaning it's all on tomorrow morning.

Starting the day without a win to his name, Blowers and his team from Great Britain had an exceptional resurgence today.

"Things honestly just finally went our way. We've been incredibly unlucky to lose four or five races on the line, and even if we had won just one of those we could be through to the quarters. But today things went in our favour and to get five wins was a good result so hopefully things go our way again tomorrow. The tide also helped us today, there was a lot of tide out there and that's what we're used to back home so it was a big factor for us to use to our advantage."

South African Sonja Stock has three wins to her name but was docked half a point for a collision yesterday, Marius Westerlind (SWE) has two wins, and Ludovico Mori is still to get a point on the board - all of whom have a lot to do tomorrow if they are a chance to make the final eight.

Racing will resume at 10am (NZT) tomorrow.

Results available matchracingresults.com/2020/youth-world-championships

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