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New Elliott 7 fleet 'an investment in NZ's future sailing talent'

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It’s been 14 years since the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) launched 10 Elliott 7s for the Mastercard Youth Training Programme, and with that fleet now safely delivered to their new owners at Bucklands Beach Yacht Club, the time has come to launch brand new boats.

Gifted by Emirates Team New Zealand to support the programme that has successfully created world-class athletes, including some who are now part of the team, the brand new fleet of Elliott 7s arrived at their new berths where the next generation of elite athletes will carve their yachting future.

Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand announced to RNZYS members that the new fleet will once again deliver opportunities to young sailors keen to embark on a world of professional sailing.

“We are especially proud and excited about the launch of the new fleet of Elliot 7s,” Dalton said.

“As an organisation, our core objective is always firmly focused on one thing - winning the America’s Cup for New Zealand. However, it is always vitally important to continue looking beyond that objective - to the future and ensuring the pipeline of top-level Kiwi sailing talent is full.

"So investing in the new fleet is an investment in New Zealand’s future sailing talent through the world-class RNZYS Youth Training Programme.”

The new fleet, fitted out with brand new North Sails and the latest in high-performance technology, will not only be utilised for the Mastercard Youth Training Programme and the Musto Performance Programme, but also for world-class international and local Match Racing events.

Grant Dalton, chief executive of Emirates Team New Zealand. Photo / ETNZ

Grant Dalton, chief executive of Emirates Team New Zealand. Photo / ETNZ

In addition to this, the fleet will also race on Tuesday evenings as part of the ongoing E7 series, and the RNZYS' ongoing work to support schools and youth within the community.

Commissioned by Greg Elliott and built under supervision at MConaghy Boats in China, the boats were fitted out at Yachting Development with the support of former Commodore Ian Cook and some of the Emirates Team New Zealand shore crew.

RNZYS Vice Commodore and Chair of Sailing, Gillian Williams was part of the delivery crew who sailed the old fleet to BBYC on the afternoon earlier this month.

“The fleet has done us proud and has produced world-class sailors who have gone on to achieve great success around the world and we are excited to now have BBYC take on the boats, so they can enhance on their development programs,” said Williams.

"It was time for RNZYS to upgrade with more international sailing and match racing events coming to the shores of the Waitemata Harbour. Now there will be 20 one-design Elliott 7s in Auckland, which means even more opportunities for sailors, and interclub regattas. It’s an exciting time."

Sailors such as Gavin Brady, Leonard Takahashi, Nick Egnot-Johnson, Megan Thomson, Celia Willison and current Hardy Cup champion helm, Josh Hyde, have gone through the RNZYS Youth Training Programme and have achieved results on the world stage ever since.

Dalton added that “this is the kind of legacy that we are determined to leave to the people of Auckland, and New Zealand. Having more one-design match racing boats means greater opportunities for everyone".


Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie at the new fleet launch. Photo / Suellen Hurling, Live Sail Die

He also shared that Emirates Team New Zealand will donate $500,000 to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron International Sailing Fund to ensure world-leading sailing opportunities on the international stage remain available.

Andrew Aitken, Commodore of RNZYS, is thrilled to be leading the club through the launch of the new Elliott 7 fleet, which is part of the ongoing reset journey the club has undertaken.

“The new fleet of Emirates Team New Zealand Elliott 7s is a significant milestone for our club, as is the generous contribution to our International Sailing Fund, and these generous donations by Grant Dalton and Emirates Team New Zealand ensure the successful future of our youth offerings as we move forward.

"In addition to this, being able to have the existing fleet remain in Auckland will be beneficial for the entire sailing community, and we are looking forward to creating more events and racing with the fleets combined,” said Aitken.

“We aim to leave a legacy for the next generation of sailors, and this is an important step in this process."