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Sailing sisters to compete in 470 Youth World Championships
Two Murray's Bay sisters are setting sail on their biggest adventure yet - the 470 Youth World Championships in Japan.
Sailing twins Brianna and Courtney Reynolds-Smith, 17, will compete in their first big international event since moving into the 470 class.
The pair moved from the 420 youth class into the 470 class at the start of 2017, after feeling they were being held back in the smaller boats.
The regatta, held in August in Enoshima, will be good competition experience for the pair who are working towards a Tokyo 2020 Olympic campaign.
"We are really well prepared and we have had a lot of advice from a lot of really talented people, so we know exactly what to expect," Brianna said.
Assisting the two year 13 students from Westlake Girls High School in their sailing career are Olympic medallists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, who sold the girls their gold medal-winning boat from the 2012 London Olympics
The twins had initially bought an older boat to get them off the ground but it became clear they were in need of an upgrade when the Reynolds-Smith's mast snapped in two at sea.
After their return from being stranded 200 metres offshore, Aleh told them they really needed to take her Olympic class yacht, after months of nagging.
"I'd say it was one of the fastest boats in the world after the Rio campaign, so we know we have got good kit," said Brianna.
"We have eliminated everything that might hold us back from doing really well," added Courtney.
In order to prepare for their upcoming competition, the two followed a rigorous training schedule and diet.
When the girls were not putting in the hours on the water alongside the men's 470 crew of Daniel Willcox and Paul Snow-Hansen, they were up early to go to the gym.
The girls said they got up at 6am every day so that they could improve their strength, a key advantage to any sailing team, they said.
However, the ultimate goal was not to reach the Olympics, it was to be the very best they could be.
"I want to get to the point where I know I've reached my full potential. I don't want to stop until I've reached that and, if that is at the Olympics, great," Courtney said.
Brianna and Courtney Reynolds-Smith from Murrays Bay, Auckland say they feel privileged to race all over the world.
YOUTH NATIONAL CHAMPIONS SELECTED FOR PATHWAY TO PODIUM PROGRAMME
3 May 2017
As many as 16 of the country's best young sailors will be chosen to participate in the Pathway to Podium programme, which aims to help talented youngsters win medals at the Olympic, Paralympics or world championships within 10 years.
TRIALS TO BE HELD FOR THIS YEAR'S YOUTH WORLDS
The 2017 Yachting New Zealand youth trials will be held at the Manly Sailing Club in October to help select the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team to contest December's Youth Sailing World Championships in Sanya, China.
2017 Auckland Champs (KYC)
Day three of the 420 Auckland Champs started in a solid building gusty breeze that saw 20 knots at times deliver four great races. Jono Weston and Robbie McCutcheon made the most of today's conditions taking three wins to finish first overall. Xanthe Copeland & Annabel Cave finished just 2 points behind and Ella Gladwell and Alice Haslett took a nice second in Race 9 to finish their first regatta together in 3rd. Whilst the fleet was small the racing was close and the results kept tight till the end.
Thanks to for the regatta. Next weekend 12 boats are entered in the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta so we should see some more great racing as the crews from around NZ come together.