News 420 Sailors make step up to Nacra 17 and 470 Campaigns

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420 Sailors make step up to Nacra 17 and 470 Campaigns

Dec 2014

Olivia Mackay, Zak Merton and Sam Barnett are three of nine sailors who have been named to Yachting New Zealand’s new Aon Fast Track programme.

The objective is to accelerate the most talented and dedicated 'up and coming' youth sailors to top international Olympic campaigners.

The sailors were selected for Aon Fast Track based on several factors not the least of which is a string of exceptional international youth results. Many of the names will be recognized from recent success at the ISAF Youth World Championships as part of the NZL Yachting Trust Youth Team:

  • Jack Simpson & Logan Dunning Beck (Wakatere Boating Club) - 49er
  • Andrew McKenzie (Kohimarama Yacht Club) - Laser
  • Zak Merton & Sam Barnett (Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club) - 470 - FORMER 420 SAILORS
  • Isaac McHardie (Hamilton Yacht Club) and Trent Rippey (Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club) - 49er
  • Olivia MacKay (Napier Sailing Club) & Micah Wilkinson (Ngaroto Sailing Club) - Nacra - FORMER 420 HELM

“It’s very possible that within a few years, some of these names will be seen amongst the NZL Sailing Team, campaigning for the 2020 Olympics,” says Ian Neely, Yachting New Zealand’s Talent Development Manager. “That is the goal for all of the sailors in this programme”.

Ian explains: “Everything about the Aon Fast Track programme is individualised to each sailor’s unique needs. Every sailor’s plan will be specifically targeted at addressing the current skills which will give them the greatest level of improvement on the race course.”

The Aon Fast Track also aims to teach sailors how to lead their own campaign and team of supporters which may include Yachting New Zealand, sport science specialists, coaches, mentors, parents, sponsors and funding agencies.

On Monday 1 December 2014 at the Aon Takapuna Insurance Broking Hub, the sailors were presented with their racing bib in front of their key support team including their parents, Yachting New Zealand, High Performance Sport New Zealand and Aon New Zealand.

“Aon recognise talent and to that end we are totally committed to these sailors and their goals," says Geoff Blaimpied, Chief Executive of Aon New Zealand. 

“We have a fantastic partnership with Yachting New Zealand and this is recognised by the emergence of this programme and the Aon National Youth Clinics.”

Follow the progress of the Aon Fast Track at upcoming international regattas:

Read more about the Aon / YNZ Relationship

Source: Yachting New Zealand