The season is coming to a close for many young sailors but for a dozen talented youngsters things are only going to ramp up as they fine-tune their preparations for July's youth sailing world championships.
The NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team was officially unveiled today at a function at the Millennium Institute on Auckland's North Shore where the 12 sailors who will compete in Gdynia, Poland, were presented with their racing bibs.
It is a fresh-looking team, with only four sailors from last year's highly-successful team who collected a record-equalling four medals at the youth worlds in the United States: Samantha Stock (girl's Laser Radial), Sophia Fyfe (girl's 29er) and Seb Menzies and Blake McGlashan (boy's 420).
A number of the team will head to Europe as part of their buildup, competing in the likes of Kiel Week and 420 world championships on top of their domestic training. They will all participate in a youth team clinic at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club this weekend.
"Each sailor has an individually-tailored programme which they can follow in their buildup to the youth worlds to help them deliver their best performance at the event," Yachting New Zealand youth head coach Matt Thomas said.
"Everything is coming together really well and we're really excited about getting over to Poland to take on the world's best youth sailors."
New Zealand has a proud tradition of success at the youth sailing world championships, having won a total of 55 medals including 17 gold, 20 silver and 18 bronze dating back to the first event in Sweden 1971.
The NZL Sailing Foundation have been supporting youth sailing in this country since the early 1990s and been the main sponsor of the team for nearly a decade.
NZL Sailing Foundation chairman Rod Slater's involvement with the team also stretches back to the early 1990s when his son, Dan Slater, was chosen in the team three years in a row. Rod was also team manager at one point.
"I always remember the chairman of the youth committee talking to the sailors and telling them they were the rock stars of the future, that they were going to be household names," Slater said. "I say to the young sailors of today that this is a wonderful stepping stone for them to crack on.
"The NZL Sailing Foundation are very proud of them and we will be following their progress not only at the youth worlds but over the next few years with a lot of interest."
NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team to compete at July's youth sailing world championships in Gdynia, Poland:
Boy's Laser Radial: Luke Cashmore
Girl's Laser Radial: Samantha Stock
Boy's 420: Seb Menzies and Blake McGlashan
Girl's 420: Sydney Cunliffe and Rebecca Hume
Boy's 29er: Eli Liefting and Jack Frewin
Girl's 29er: Sophia Fyfe and Holly Liefting
Nacra 15: Helena Sanderson and Jack Honey
Coaches: Matt Thomas, Jenny Armstrong and Matthew Kempkers