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New Zealand Sailors Off to Europe

New Zealand Sailors Off to Europe
Date Released: 22 March 2006

A number of Yachting New Zealand Olympic Squad and Academy sailors are bound for Europe in coming weeks with the start of the northern hemisphere racing calendar approaching, and preparation for the next Olympic Games in mind.

April features two major European regattas; the HRH Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma de Mallorca, Spain from 8 -15 April followed by the Semaine Olympique Francaise Regatta in Hyeres, France on between 22 and 28 April. A large team of 23 New Zealanders are competing in the Hyeres regatta.

Olympic Squad members competing in both of the April regattas include Tornado sailors Aaron McIntosh and Bruce Kendall as well as Sharon Ferris, Raynor Smeal & Ashley Holtum in the Yngling. New Zealand will also be represented in the 49er class and the 470 class at both while Finn sailor Dan Slater will be in France for the Hyeres regatta.

Eight Laser and Laser Radial sailors will be competing in Hyeres including the two current Olympic Squad members Andrew Murdoch (Laser) and Jo Aleh (Laser Radial). For these two the Hyeres regatta precedes the ISAF World Sailing Games on in Austria in mid May. The Laser group is supported by Academy Coach, Ian Neely.

RS:X sailors Tom Ashley and Jon-Paul Tobin are about to kick off their assault on the international racing calendar departing Auckland on 28 March. Both sailors will be competing first in Palma de Mallorca and then Hyeres, together with Hayley Thom in the Women's division.

"This is the first opportunity for the worlds' best RSX sailors to test their metal against each other after a full summer of training and preparation in their respective countries. Jon-Paul and Tom have been training and developing good skills together over this period," says Academy Coach, Paul Page. "Competence on the board and fitness has improved to a high level since the first time everyone saw each other on the equipment in October in Spain."

Page has been supporting Tobin, Ashley and Thom throughout the summer in New Zealand and will be with them in Europe for these two initial regattas.

Barbara Kendall is now training on the RS:X and enjoying the challenge of learning a new board. Having recently resumed her training after the birth of her second daughter, Kendall is targeting the 2006 Olympic Test Event in Beijing in August, followed by the RS:X World Championships in Italy. Until then her focus is fitness and training both here in New Zealand and in the windy conditions off Maui in Hawaii.

Three containers are currently en route to Europe with Maersk Line transporting the boats and equipment of our Olympic Squad and Academy sailors. Delivered by Maersk Line into Rotterdam equipment is then collected by the sailors who have a long drive to either Hyeres, France or to Barcelona to then ferry to Palma, Mallorca.

European and World Championship class regattas, the ISAF World Sailing Games and the 2006 Olympic Test Event in Beijing follow on through the Northern Hemisphere summer pitting our New Zealand sailors against their international rivals.

For Academy sailors hoping to reach the Yachting New Zealand Olympic Squad the all important regattas are their World and European Championship organised by each of the respective international associations for the Olympic classes and scheduled between June and the end of the year. Olympic Coaching Director, Rod Davis will be watching all the kiwi sailors and targeting those who prove they have Olympic medal winning potential.


HRH Princess Sofia Regatta 2006
ISAF Grade 2
Palma De Mallorca, Spain, 8 - 15 April
www.trofeoprincesasofia.org

New Zealanders Competing:
RS:X Men: Tom Ashley & JP Tobin
RS:X Women: Hayley Thom
470 Men: Stephen & Phillip Keen
Yngling: Sharon Ferris, Raynor Smeal & Ashley Holtum
Tornado: Aaron McIntosh & Bruce Kendall
49er: Jake Bartrom & Craig Prentice


Semaine Olympique Francaise 2006
ISAF Grade 1
Hyeres, France, 22 - 28 April
http://sof.ffvoile.net

New Zealanders Competing:
RS:X Men: Tom Ashley & JP Tobin
RS:X Women: Hayley Thom
470 Men: Stephen & Phillip Keen, Andrew Brown & Dave Healy, Geoff Woolley & Mark Overington
Laser: Andrew Murdoch, Michael Bullot, David Weaver, Matt Blakey, Blair McLay
Laser Radial: Jo Aleh, Sara Winther, Miranda Powrie
Yngling: Sharon Ferris, Raynor Smeal & Ashley Holtum
Finn: Dan Slater
Tornado: Aaron McIntosh & Bruce Kendall
49er: Jake Bartrom & Craig Prentice

Following these April regattas a team of up to 24 sailors will be in Austria for the ISAF World Sailing Games in May. For more information on the New Zealand team:

http://www.yachtingnz.org.nz/index.cfm?pageid=68&parentid=637&nid=538

ENDS


Yachting New Zealand site: http://www.yachtingnz.org.nz

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