|Nick Egnot-Johnson, Sam Barnett, Zak Merton & Bradley McLaughlin, representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron have been crowned 2022 Open Match Racing World Champions after an epic five days of racing on Sydney Harbour in strong conditions.
USA’s Chris Poole, Joachim Aschenbrenner, Malcolm Parker & Graeme Spence finished in second place with Australia’s Harry Price, Taylor Balogh, Niall Morrow & Josh Wijohn secured third place.
Spectacular conditions and a fresh breeze once again graced the competitors for the final day of the 2022 World Match Racing Tour Final on Sydney Harbour, co-hosted with the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA).
The final four teams completed the semi-final stage of the regatta in the morning with USA’s Riptide Racing, skippered by Chris Poole despatching Denmark’s Borch Racing with Jeppe Borch as skipper, 3 – 1 to secure the American their place in the final.
In the other semi-final match, Nick Egnot-Johnson, KNOTS Racing team, defeated local Sydney team, DownUnder Racing skippered by Harry Price, 3 – 1 to secure their berth in the Finals.
As the morning rain cleared, a fresh southerly breeze took over the harbour, peaking at 23 knots during the Finals Series. Joining the sailors on the water was a flurry of spectator vessels including the official spectator vessel, the “Royale” Rosman Ferry donated by Noakes Group for the Finals Series. The 60+ guests onboard then witnessed one of the toughest fought Finals series.
Nick Egnot-Johnson’s KNOTS Racing were first to score in the first-to-three-point final. However, Chris Poole’s Riptide Racing, who had only lost one race to date then levelled out the series in the second race.
The Kiwis bounced back in Race 3, showing a dominate display of speed and boat handling. Riptide Racing then came storming back yet again to level the match 2 – 2 and take the Final to a winner-takes-all decider.
After winning the start, KNOTS Racing tore up the initial three legs of the race, with the American team looking out of touch. However the difficult breeze saw Poole gain take an advantage for the final run, with only two boat lengths separating the finalists, metres from the finish.
In the end, the Kiwis were able to hold onto their lead, to cross the finish line as World Champions. Sydney Harbour Port Authority was in position to shower the racecourse with a water display and christen the new Open Match Racing World Champions.
“We are just stoked to win, it’s a dream come true for us” commented Egnot-Johnson. “Chris and the Riptide team have been a rival for such a long time so it was awesome to come up against them in the finals, you can’t get any closer than that to finish – Sydney really turned it on for us today, it’s an amazing feeling.”