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Mason Mulcahy and Andre Van Dam

Young pair dominate 420 national champs

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Mason Mulcahy and Andre Van Dam achieved a near-perfect scorecard on their way to winning the 420 national title in Wellington over the weekend.

The pair won 10 of the 11 races to finish comfortably ahead of Amelia Angus and Rebecca Hume, who were second overall and first females. Yuto Fujimura and Takuto Fujimura were third and first under-17 crew.

Angus and Hume were the only combination to take a race off Mulcahy and Van Dam, who have dominated the local scene for the past few months.

"It was cool to come away with so many wins but that wasn't really our goal," Mulcahy said. "We were trying to sail to the best of our ability in every race and I think we did that. There were plenty of positives to come away from the weekend."

The racing for the 17-boat fleet was in mostly light winds over the four days off the Evans Bay Yacht & Motor Boat Club, which brought plenty of challenges. Murrays Bay Sailing Club had seven crews taking part and filled the top five places.

Mulcahy and Van Dam teamed up 16 months ago and have spent most of that time living in different cities - Mulcahy in Auckland and Van Dam in Wellington - but the 18-year-old Van Dam has recently relocated to Auckland.

"It's been pretty difficult," the 15-year-old Mulcahy admitted. "In the early stages [of our partnership] we didn't do that much training together and it was just something we had to deal with. But we've worked through it and done pretty well so it hasn't really hindered us too much. It certainly helps having Andre in Auckland now."

The pair had been planning to attend July's 420 world championships in France - they were eighth in the 420 worlds last year - and had hoped to win selection for the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team to compete in December's youth sailing world championships in Brazil but, like most people, don't know what the future will hold due to the Coronavirus.

Mulcahy and Van Dam clearly have promising futures in the sport and will look to spend plenty of time in the 420 in the coming months.

"It's a pretty challenging boat," Mulcahy said. "It's not as fast as some others but it's the most tactical and technical boat, I believe, and there's always close racing."

Results and standings from the 420 national championships at the Evans Bay Yacht & Motor Boat Club (17 boats):

1st: Mason Mulcahy / Andre Van Dam (MBSC/EBYMBC) 1 1 1 1 1 1 (2) 1 1 1 1 - 10 points
2nd: Amelia Angus / Rebecca Hume (MBSC) 3 (7) 3 3 6 3 1 5 3 5 6 - 38 pts
3rd: Yuto Fujimura / Takuto Fujimura (JPN) 4 4 2 2 (8) 6 4 6 6 4 2 - 40 pts

Full results