JOSH JUNIOR CLAIMS CROWN
Josh Junior won his second New Zealand Match Racing crown after beating Chris Steele 3–2 after a long, tricky day of match racing at the RNZYS. Junior had eaten Nick Egnot-johnson and his Knots Racing team earlier in the morning, which left the second semi-final between Chris Steele and Leonard Takahashi’s Pacific Racing Team. Both semi-finals were close, but it was small mistakes from the younger skippers EgnotJohnson and Takahashi which cost them against their more experienced opponents. Both contests ended 3–0.
This put Steele up against Junior in a battle of past champions. In what were very shifty conditions, Steele took the first match quite convincingly and it looked like the final could be over sooner than envisaged. But Junior fired back in the next match to tie it up at one apiece.
The wind then shifted completely and resulted in a course change, and when racing got back underway it was Junior who took the win and found himself on match point. After yet another course change, Steele came back strong and showed some great tactics in the lighter, shifty conditions to even the final up yet again.
It was down to a do-or-die final match to decide the regatta.
Conditions were even harder for the final, with the wind going home early and forcing the two past champions to a virtual ‘drift off’. Junior crossed the line first.