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Olympic inspiration for young Starling sailors

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Sailors looking for a head start at this month’s Port Marlborough Starling Championships are set for a shot of Olympic inspiration.

Yachting New Zealand will be hosting a free clinic for Starling sailors ahead of the regatta – one of the biggest junior events on the annual calendar – making a return after a two-year Covid-enforced hiatus.

The clinic will feature Olympic Games gold medallist Jenny Armstrong, YNZ’s women's sailing manager and ILCA 6 programme manager, at the Queen Charlotte Yacht Club in Picton on Thursday, February 16 - with a particular focus on starting and first beat strategy.

Racing in the three-day regatta, which also doubles as the 2023 Interislander Optimist Challenge, gets under way on Friday, February 17. 

“The Starling class is one of New Zealand sailing’s most important feeder classes and is a natural next step for young sailors hoping to transition to more competitive single and double-handed sailing,” said Armstrong, a three-time Olympian who won gold for Australia in the women’s 470 at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. 

Olympic Games gold medallist Jenny Armstrong will do coaching on and off the water.

Olympic Games gold medallist Jenny Armstrong will do coaching on and off the water. 

Armstrong will run two sessions – starting with briefings at 11am and 2pm respectively – and sailors are required to be rigged and changed ahead of time. 

Participants and their parents are encouraged to attend a pathways presentation at the conclusion of sailing on the 16th, including a question-and-answer session. The time and venue for the presentation session will be advised on the day. 

Armstrong will also be coaching on the water during day 1 of the event. 

“We’re expecting a large and competitive Starling fleet and these clinics are an excellent opportunity to share ideas, answer questions and fine-tune tactics prior to and during racing,” Armstrong said. 

Click here to register for the free Yachting New Zealand Starling clinic.