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Young Kiwis making a splash in Europe

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The country’s top young sailors have been making waves internationally over the past weeks, competing in major regattas in Germany, Slovenia, Portugal, Poland and Italy - with some securing podium spots.

Few have been as impressive as ILCA 6 sailor Zach Stibbe, who claimed a silver medal in the open fleet at the 2024 Kiel Week a fortnight ago, followed by an overall fourth place at the Europa Cup Germany in Warnemünde this week.

He finished first under-19 male and first overall male at the most recent event, which featured a star-studded lineup including Olympic heavyweight Anne-Marie Rindom of Denmark.

Stibbe wasn't the only Kiwi to shine at the Germany Cup, though - with Chloe Turner the top under-17 female and 11th female overall. 


Chloe Turner and Zach Stibbe. Photo / Supplied

The duo form part of a 13-strong NZL Sailing Foundation youth team that will be competing at the 2024 youth sailing world championships at Lake Garda, Italy from this weekend.

Full results from the 2024 Europe Cup Germany here.

Full results from the 2024 Kiel Week here.


Sean Kensington and Will Leech finished as the top overseas team. Photo / Gdynia Sailing Days

Stibbe and Turner will be joined in Italy by 29er crews Will Leech and Sean Kensington, and Bella Jenkins and Nicola Hume, who will be full of confidence after a strong showing at the class Europeans in Gdynia - their first major international competitions since teaming up earlier this year.

Leech and Kensington were crowned top overseas team and ninth overall, bagging a race win, second and two thirds in the process. Nelsen Meacham and Levi Jenkins were equally impressive, finishing 15th overall, while Bella Jenkins and Hume were the ninth female team and 18th overall in silver fleet.

Full results from the 2024 29erEuropean championships here.


Alex Norman and Cam Brown, pictured here with coaches Geoff Woolley (left) and Andrew Brown (right) recovered well from a slow start in Slovenia. Photo / Supplied

Also heading to the youth worlds, are Cam Brown and Alex Norman, who recovered well from a slow start to finish strongly at the 420 European championships in Portoroz, Slovenia this week.

Brown and Norman missed out on a spot in the gold fleet after two black flags in qualifying, but followed it up with a race win and two second places, to sign off ninth in silver fleet and 46th overall out of 110 boats.

Tessa Clinton and Jess Handley will also be competing in the class at the youth worlds - their first major overseas regatta since teaming up only a few months ago.

Full results from the 2024 420 European championships here.


Caleb Armit in action at the ILCA 7 under-21 world championships. Photo / PROW Media

In Viana do Castelo, Portugal, Caleb Armit was the highest placed Kiwi at the 2024 ILCA 7 under-21 world championships.

Armit, who won bronze at last year's worlds in Morocco, finished 14th, with five top-10 results in 12 races.

Dylan Forsyth (26th) and George Pilkington (32nd) also made the gold fleet in the 155-boat competition. 

Full results from the 2024 ILCA 7 under-21 world championships here.


Zofia Wells was seventh at the Optimist European championships in Italy. Photo / Club Nautico Marina Di Carrara

Young Zofia Wells impressed with her seventh place overall in the 120-boat girl's competition at the 2024 Optimist European championship in Carrara, Italy.

Wells was among the leaders throughout the regatta and claimed a third in the first gold-fleet race.

Charlotte Handley was 79th overall.

In the boy's event, Jake Dickey was 65th, and Lauchlan Wills 108th.

Full results from the 2024 Optimist European championships here.


Mattias Coutts claimed silver in the Moth, with Sam Street fifth and Henry Haslett sixth. Photo / Martina Orsini, We Are Foiling Media

Just over a week earlier, Mattias Coutts took out the silver medal in the Moth competition at the annual Foiling Week in Italy.

Coutts finished outside the top three only once during the eight races, and was beaten to the gold medal by France's Enzo Balanger by a mere two points.

Sam Street and Henry Haslett ensured the top-10 had a strong Kiwi flavour, finishing fifth and sixth respectively - some way behind Coutts.

Full results from the 2024 Foiling Week here.