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Josh Armit is New Zealand's latest World Champion, winning the under-17 title at the Laser Radial Youth World Championships in Holland in dominant fashion, and he came agonisingly close to picking up another medal in the under-19 fleet.
The silver medals came from Nick Egnot Johnson and Jackson Keon (Boy’s 29er) and George Gautrey (Boy’s Laser Radial). Bronze came from sisters Kate and Greta Stewart (Girl’s 29er), and also from Tamryn Lindsay and William Mckenzie (SL16 Multihull).
The 15-year-old Murrays Bay sailor won the under-17 championship in Medemblik by a whopping 41 points over Australia's Zac Littlewood, with the third-placed getter another 75 points behind. He was also tied on points with second in the under-19 fleet but finished fourth overall on countback.
He has been working hard with help from the likes of Olympian Sara Winther, Laser Radial masters world champion Scott Leith and Olympic development squad member Tom Saunders.
His world title comes on the back of others won by New Zealand sailors at youth and junior level recently, including Sean Herbert (O'pen Bic), Mathias Coutts (O'pen Bic) and Eli Liefting and Rose Dickson (RS Feva).
"Out of the whopping fleet of 280 boys, this is the biggest regatta I have done," Armit said. "Big thanks to Sara Winther Sailing for her great coaching support. I would also like to thank everyone for all their kind messages of encouragement and support, as well as all those who have helped me on my journey so far."
Results and standings from the Laser Radial youth world championships in Holland
Boy's gold fleet (69 boats; 11 races, 2 discards)
1. Dimitris Papadimitriou (GRE) 32 points
2. Matias Dietrich (ARG) 59 pts
3. Nicholas Bezy (HKG) 59 pts
4. Josh Armit (NZL) 59 pts
1. Josh Armit (NZL) 59 pts
2. Zac Littlewood (AUS) 100 pts
3. Nico Naujock (GER) 175 pts
In July this year a team of 26 sailors headed to Long Beach, California from New Zealand. The team had excellent parent support. California is a popular destination, with plenty of sunshine, shops, beaches and many other things to do. Greta Stewart sailed under NZL with an American crew. We also supported Anne Huebner GER who had done a lot of sailing at Kohimarama while an exchange student in 2016.
There were two regattas the host club Alamitos Bay Yacht Club put on. The 2017 29er US National Championship was the warm-up. This regatta was sailed in nice breeze and plenty of sunshine. The NZL Team did very well in the warm up regatta. The whole team made gold fleet and Seb Lardies and Scott McKenzie were the winners. Results can be found here
After a couple of days off after the US Nationals the main event started. The standard seemed to step up for the Worlds. With a scheduled 10 races for qualifying and 10 races for finals there was a lot of sailing over 6 days. Qualifying started well for NZL but light and tricky winds on day 3 caused some higher results to creep in. After qualifying we had 6 NZL in the 50 boat Gold fleet and the remainder in Silver. The best results were Seb and Scott taking 5th place, Francesco Kayrouz and Jackson Keon 12th and the new pairing of Josh Berry and Tom Fyfe 19th. The RSA pair of Benji Daniel and Alex Burger are the current World Champions. A nice way to finish the regatta saw Ben and Sean Paterson win Silver Fleet with Craig Keenan and Reece Caulfield 3rd.
Final results can be found here
The team was ably supported by a great bunch of parents, two fantastic coaches Matt Thomas from Yachting New Zealand and Robbs Heilkema (BOIYC). The team manager was Jason Morgan who had an easy job with a team that all got on very well. It was a great showing by the Kiwis abroad. There was a serious incident on the last day, in Silver Fleet, where an IRL sailor got into difficulties during a capsize. After a bit of a scare, support from competitors, coaches and support boats, Johnny Durcan was rescued and after a time in hospital was released to go home. A NZL low-light of the trip was breaking three bowsprits (a record) and one highlight, of many, was NZL was the biggest foreign team in both regattas, that’s more than GBR and AUS. In fact when all 65 NZL team members turned up to the ABYC BBQ we just about took over the place! Through continent scheduling the 2018 29er Worlds are in Hong Kong starting 2 January 2018 which is a very small gap between events.
The team would like to express a huge thanks to the NZL Foundation for the generous grant that allowed the NZL Team to take a second coach to support such a big team.
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