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Y88 solo and two handed champions crowned

by Young 88 Owners' Association 11 Jun 16:45 NZST
Young 88 two-handed champs - Bucklands Beach Yacht Club - Auckland - May 2020 © Young 88 Owners Association

Short handed sailing has proven a brilliant solution for getting a sailing fix while adhering to social distancing rules for the Young 88 class.

Internationally acclaimed sailors have been making a strong showing in one of NZ's biggest one design keel boat class.

Matt Steven Sailing Undercover Wins Young 88 Two Handed Champs on Countback.

Last Sunday saw the running of the second stage of the aptly named and “covinnovative” Mount Gay Rum 1-2-3 Series. Two handed, windward leewards with no extras was the order of the day. Twelve competitive 88’s and a bunch of hardy Pied Pipers assembled in the vicinity of Auckland Harbour’s Northern Leading Light to do battle in ten to 20 knot Southwesters over five intense and closely fought races.

Well known Kiwi JJ Giltinan 18-Footer champ sailor Matt Steven helmed Undercover to a first on line just ahead of Rowan Swanson on Mindbender via a countback.

Matt shared his thoughts on the day: "It was some of the most fun racing I have done in a long time. It took a while to get in the swing of sailing an 88 again but lucky Paul and I learnt how to tack after one race. It was a thrill to come into a gate mark three wide and watch 4 x 88's trying to get around the top mark all abreast.

This style of racing, being one day, short sharp and intense, should be something people should be seeking in my opinion. I would highly recommend it.

I would like to thank Paul Atkins for inviting me and Johnny Bell of Akaroa for kindly lending his Boat. It was a blast, cheers!”

We also received the following from Dangerzone’s On Board Reporter Brad Marsh:

"The two-handed race day of the BBYC 1-2-3 series was met with so much anticipation by team Dangerzone that Robin had her bag packed ready for Sunday’s racing on Wednesday afternoon! The night before race day she slept like a possum, eyes wide open in eager anticipation.

The day was met with picture perfect conditions and Robin was like a coiled spring. The first race with J1’s was a big ask for a smaller crew to tail and grind every tack. The compulsory change to J2 signalled by flag Foxtrot was a welcome sight going up in the second race.

Whilst Robins enthusiasm and sheer determination was well received her husband’s effort on the tiller was something short of dismal and the days results went up and down like a yo-yo. If Robin was the hero, there were definitely times I was the zero.

But as we sailed home after the last race, we summarised the day with a few points: - I was the only crew member to receive a kiss and a hug after winning a race that day - I was lucky to be able to spend the day competing in an incredible fleet racing environment with my wife as a crew member - The young 88 is absolutely the perfect boat for two handed racing and racing as a mixed couple - Most importantly though I am still married after such a risky experiment!

Huge congratulations to Undercover and Mindbender for a good result on a tricky day, thanks to the fleet for some good racing and as always thanks to my brother (Chris Marsh) the RO and his team who showed nerves of steel to call Dangerzone OCS in the final race of the day…….."

It’s great to see Brad and Robin are still talking as they build their campaign targeting the inaugural “SSANZ Young 88 Two Handed Triple Series Mixed Doubles Trophy” (blimey to fit that title it will need to be a big cup!) to be sailed during July and August.

James Corbett continues to lead the series and is aiming to consolidate on his win last year but is only 1.5 points ahead of Brad Marsh on Dangerzone. Like usual for this fleet there are plenty of close battles going on all the way through the standings.

Brad Marsh draws first blood in the Young 88 1-2-3 series sailed two weeks ago

Race report from Brad Marsh onboard Dangerzone.

"Sunday May 24th was the Bruce Elliott Memorial Single Handed Champs and the first event of the BBYC run 1,2,3 series for the Young 88 class. We purchased Dangerzone from Wellington with the intention of bringing it back to the Auckland fleet to enjoy the benefits of the class and the wide and varied racing it offers.

With a “nice” NE blowing of between 16 and 22 knots the Race committee of hardy volunteers stood in the rain and wind and sent us on the first of three windward leeward harbour courses in the Northern Leading vicinity. It was a nervous line up for the first start as we were all facing backwards trimming the jibs on then looking forward and anxiously wishing we had a bowman to tell us how far from the line we were with 10 seconds to  go!

The first race showed everyone who was going to be hard to beat with Flash Gordon leading the way to the first mark and then all the way round the track to take the gun. Dangerzone spent a lot of time staring at the back of Flash Gordon until a crafty manoeuvre by Vagabond at the top mark slipped Chris Brodie into second place for the run to the finish line. Behind the pack were extremely close with only four minutes separating everyone in an hour-long race.

The second race was on the same course and with everyone getting over their nerves and working out how to sail in the breeze and sea state, the start was even tighter again. An unfortunate moment for Flash Gordon who hoisted his jib with a couple of minutes to go and the tack came undone. He could be seen yelling at his bowman until realising he needed to go up there and solve the issue himself. If you need a job done well, always do it yourself.

The second highlight of the race came when we all got to the bottom mark only to realise another race was also using the same mark but coming from a different direction. I approached the mark on port ready to round only to look up and see Ponsonby Scow bearing down on the mark on starboard preparing for a 180 degree turn at the same time I was hoping to do a 180 degree turn the other way. A quick check of Voodoo and Vagabond saw the fear in their eyes too.

The jib trimmer (that’s me) had the jib strapped in already 5 lengths from the mark, the mainsheet trimmer (that’s me) had a knot in the mainsheet whilst the navigator (that’s me) had made a slight error on the lay line and the rest of the fleet were punishing team Dangerzone for that. The Ponsonby Scow had no idea Team Danger Zone was a team of one and if she wanted to stop or avoid collision, she needed to start that sequence 30 minutes ago! The only thing to do was shut my eyes and turn the corner! 

The third and final race of the day was again led from start to finish by Flash Gordon with some good fleet racing in between. A great downwind run with five boats lined up alongside each other sailing downwind with jibs winged out and enjoying the fresh breeze was a highlight. 

A couple of minor incidents to a couple of boats throughout the day, but all in all a great day sailing with in a very competitive fleet, a great bunch of owners and sailors and an impressive volunteer squad setting up the racing. Thank you to the Young 88 class, to Chris Marsh the Race Officer and thank you to BBYC for hosting the day. Dangerzone is looking forward to the two-handed race day in a fortnight when we will be racing as a husband and wife duo."

The 88’s are now well primed to step up for the third instalment of the 1-2-3, the “Three Handed Champs” with extras on Sunday July 19th.

For more info on the 1-2-3 Series including results, photos and videos: and for more on the Young 88s in the SSANZ Triple series this link: go this this link

For more information on the Young 88 association refer to the Class Association web site

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