New Zealand sailors claim gold in Cyprus

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 09:31 19/07/2013

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There's still one day to go but New Zealand is assured of a gold medal at the youth world sailing championships in Cyprus with Waikato's Isaac McHardie and Micah Wilkinson holding an unassailable lead in the SL16 multihull class.

McHardie (Hamilton Yacht Club) and Wilkinson (Ngaroto Sailing Club) will be back on the water tomorrow but with a sixth, first and fourth today they have opened a 15-point margin over the chasing Australian crew and have gold in the bag.

It is New Zealand's first medal in the catamaran in the history of the championships.

"We just needed to keep the Aussies behind us in most of the races, and be consistent top five and we did that so we're very happy," said Wilkinson, describing what needed to be done on the water today.

"Awesome, so proud, so happy to be representing New Zealand and winning, and beating the Aussies."

The young kiwis plan to enjoy tomorrow's final race of the regatta.

"We'll make the most of it and just go sailing with the boys I guess," he said.

Pairing up at the start of the season McHardie, 16, and Wilkinson, 17, have gone from strength to strength, demonstrating huge performance gains as they built their partnership despite an injury set-back early in the summer when Wilkinson broke an arm.

Recently they sailed the SL16 world championships as a lead-up regatta where they finished sixth overall and clearly gained valuable experience.

Following the youth worlds, they will compete at the 29er world championships in Denmark.

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- Fairfax Media

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