Young New Zealand sailors continue to do well overseas.
Last weekend Rangitoto College Year 13 student Matthew Kelly won the 2015 China Cup Regatta held in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China.
Matthew and his team, representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, won the Farr East 28R division, skippering the Farr East 28R to a well-deserved win in the China Cup in Shin-Zeng. In a fleet of ten racing for four days, they only finished outside the top two in one race and won convincingly.
We caught up with Matthew following his return home during the week.
Congratulations on your achievement last weekend, were you expecting to do so well?
Going into the regatta we didn't really know what to expect as we had never participated in this regatta before and had little to no experience racing against Chinese sailors.
The regatta was a huge event, many teams from various countries were involved, and most who were returning teams that had competed there before.
You only finished outside the top two in one of your races – was there a highlight that stood out?
Most of the racing was tight, with only a few points separating the top three teams throughout the regatta. A highlight for us would have been when we blitzed the fleet winning by a whole leg during one of the races of day two.
You were skipper of your boat - who were your other crew members?
Our crew consisted of Ibuki Koizumi who is from Japan (aged 19), James Delegat fromNew Zealand (aged 16), Jacob Willis from New Zealand (aged 20) and Tom Pickering also from New Zealand (aged 21).
Was this the first time you have represented New Zealand overseas and how and when did you get this opportunity?
This isn't the first time I have represented New Zealand - I recently traveled to New Caledonia for the Youth Match Racing regatta where we placed second overall.
Whereabouts were some of your opposition from?
We were competing against teams from Russia, Sweden, Great Britain, Germany, and China.
How long have you been sailing competitively for, how did you get into your sport?
I have been sailing competitively since the age of 13, where I started off Sailing Optimists out of Torbay Sailing Club on the North Shore. My passion for sailing was established through the water wise program at school.
What are your immediate plans over the summer?
The next big regatta coming up in a couple of weeks, from 18-22 November, where I will be travelling to Sydney to compete in the Harken Youth International Match Racing regatta.
What are you doing next year?
I have been offered a Job at a New Zealand yachting company which I am going to accept, this will hopefully give me even more opportunities to start my yachting career.
Where do you want sailing to take you in the future?
Yachting as a career is a long term goal for me so I am working towards that and will be doing everything I can to achieve that.
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