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Knots Racing

Knots Racing finish 'solid' year on a high

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Nick Egnot-Johnson channelled all of his inner Kiwiness when describing 2019 as a "solid" year.

If solid is winning seven regattas, including one grade one event, and finishing the year No 2 on the world match racing rankings, then he's set a fairly high bar.

Egnot-Johnson and his Knots Racing team of Sam Barnett, Brad McLaughlin and Zak Merton rounded off their year by winning the Kingdom Match Race in Bahrain, which also doubled as the last event of the Match Race Super League.

They topped the standings after the double round robin in Bahrain and then went on to defeat Poland's Piotr Harasimowicz 3-1 in a hard-fought final.

It also meant Knots Racing not only won the overall Match Race Super League title but Egnot-Johnson, at 21, also became the youngest league winner.

"I would say it's been a breakthrough year, especially to be able to boost our ranking," he said from Hong Kong. "It's important to get our world ranking up so we can get entry to higher-class events. I think it's been a really good step up and we will keep working from there.

"It's really got our match racing name out there and it has been at a good time because the World Match Racing Tour is starting off next year and that is going to put us in a good place to get on that tour and give it our best shot."

Interestingly, they haven't yet been given a tour card for next year when the World Match Racing Tour returns. The tour kicks off at April's Congressional Cup and the 12 tour cards were handed out before Egnot-Johnson broke into the world's top 10.

It means they will likely have to qualify to race at the Congressional Cup, which was the event this year when things really started to click for Knots Racing. They finished fifth at that regatta, knocking off the likes of eventual winner Ian Williams, Chris Poole, Maxime Mesnil, Nicklas Dackhammer and Harry Price in the process.

"We had our coach Graeme Sutherland along for it and he got us more solidified as a team and from there we were able to keep going and keep improving," Egnot-Johnson said. "I think the key to our success this year has been to have a really good, solid team for every event. We have the core of five guys with us each time. It makes a massive difference to have the same guys sailing and training together. 

"The invitations have definitely started to come our way a bit more now. We are still missing out on a few but it shouldn't be for too much longer. We are No 2 now so, in roughly six months, I think we should be on the tour."

Their next event will be next month's Warren Jones International Youth Regatta in Perth, when Knots Racing will line up as the world's top-ranked team. They were fourth at this year's event but a lot of water has crossed their bow since then.

The entire team of five sailors - Tim Snedden is also a core member alongside the four who sailed in Bahrain - have committed to at least another 12 months together.

"We're really excited," Egnot-Johnson said. "It's all so much fun, especially the big boat regattas like in Perth and Con Cup. We will aim to do it for as long as possible."

They should be able to achieve a few more 'solid' results in the future.