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Sailors set for Olympic boost at first Aon national youth clinic of 2024

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They've stood on some of the world's most prestigious podiums, but this weekend several of New Zealand's most recognisable sailing names will gather on Auckland’s North Shore to help shape the stars of tomorrow.

Eight leading coaches have been confirmed for the first Aon national youth clinic of the year at Murrays Bay Sailing Club on Saturday and Sunday (March 2-3) - including multiple Olympians Jenny Armstrong and Andrew Murdoch, 2023 world championship bronze medallist George Gautrey, and former youth sailing aces Kate Stewart, Scott McKenzie and Markus Sommerville.

Armstrong won gold in the women's 470 at the 2000 Games in Sydney, while Murdoch finished fifth in the then men's Laser at both the 2008 and 2012 Games.

They will join Gautrey in coaching the ILCA 6 intake this weekend, while Stewart - a two-time youth world champs medallist in the girls 29er - will be mentoring sailors in the double-handed skiff class along with seasoned Olympic coach Geoff Woolley and Yachting New Zealand 49er coach and youth worlds medallists Stewart and Somerville.

The coaching group also includes top Kiwi windfoiler Patrick Haybittle.


George Gautrey won bronze at the world championships in The Hague. Photo / Sailing Energy

"A key strength of our programme is the world-class coaches that we have regularly engaged at the clinics," Yachting New Zealand's youth and events manager, Sam Mackay, said.

"Having their collective experience of success provides an incredibly valuable opportunity for sailors to step up their sailing. It’s going to be an intense two days of training and plenty of fun."

According to Mackay, the clinic will cover topics like starting, boat handling techniques and boat speed and is the first of several planned across the country over the coming months. Key lessons from the team that attended the 2023 youth world championships in Brazil will also be shared as the programme ramps up ahead of the New Zealand youth trials in April and the 2024 youth worlds in July. 


Olympic gold medallist Jenny Armstrong.

The base level to get into the national clinics is to be committed to your sailing, training regularly (minimum three days a week) and are capable of sailing in over 20 knots and not tie a coach to a safety role. Sailors should also be aiming to compete at their class nationals and the New Zealand youth championships.

For more information contact Mackay at