Egnot-Johnson tops Match Racing Cup

Published on February 24th, 2019

The 2019 Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Cup was contested by 14 teams on February 21-24 in Auckland, New Zealand. Held in Elliott 7m keelboats, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s Nick Egnot-Johnson and his team of Zak Merton, Sam Barnett, and Alistair Gifford took the closely fought title. Four nations competed, with David Wood as the lone USA entrant finishing tenth.

Egnot-Johnson eased through his semi-final 3-0 against Callum Radford’s Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club team from Wellington to cement his spot in the final.

He was made to wait for an opponent though, with the semi-final between Jordan Stevenson’s RNZYS Youth Training Programme Vento Racing team and Tom Grimes’ team from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia going right down to the wire.

It was Grimes who was sitting in the box seat, taking the first two matches and leaving himself needing only one more victory to meet Egnot-Johnson in the final. Stevenson wasn’t going to have a bar of that though, and as he has done before, pulled up his socks and pulled off an amazing comeback – winning the next three matches to send Grimes reeling into the petite final and himself into the big dance.

The all Squadron final also did not disappoint, with some incredibly tight racing, tacking duels and speedy downwind sailing. Both teams’ traded close wins to send the final into an epic fifth match to decide who would be champion.

However, after what was a very exciting pre-start, and in what was Stevenson’s 10th match of the day, him and his team made a costly mistake and were ruled to be over the start line before the horn. This gave Egnot-Johnson a decisive lead that he would not relinquish, allowing him to sail his Knots racing team to the overall victory.

Stevenson was disappointed not to win, but still had a strong sense of proudness about how he and his team sailed at the end. “We had 10 matches today so by the time we got to that final match we really had to dig deep. There must only have been inches in that decision but that’s how it goes.”

Egnot-Johnson was also very proud of his team and was more than chuffed that they managed to take home the spoils. “I’m just so stoked that we managed to win this regatta and I’m super proud of the boys on how well we sailed all week. A big shout-out to Jordan and his team, they put up a massive fight in the final and made it as tough as it could have been. We are on a good run at the moment and now have our sights set on the Congressional Cup in California!”

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Source: Andrew Delves

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