Oyster Bay Sail Team Places Second in World Match Racing Finals
By Rupert Deedes The KNOTS Racing Club, representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and captained by Nick Egnot-Johnson, has won the World Match Racing Tour finale and crowned 2022 Open Match Racing World Champions, narrowly beating the American team from Oyster Bay. The intense, 5-day competition, which was conducted at Sydney Harbor in Sydney, Australia, in windy conditions, saw the American team, Riptide Racing of Oyster Bay, finish a close second place. The Oyster Bay team was captained by Chris Poole, with crew members Joachim Aschenbrenner, Malcolm Parker, and Graeme Spence. Australia’s DownUnder Racing, captained by Harry Price, secured third place. The final four teams completed the semi-final stage of the regatta on Monday morning, with Oyster Bay’s Riptide Racing defeating Denmark’s Borch Racing 3 – 1 to secure the American team’s place in the final. In the other semi-final match, the KNOTS Racing team defeated local Sydney team, DownUnder Racing 3 – 1 to secure their place in the Finals. Nick Egnot-Johnson’s KNOTS Racing were first to score in the first-to-three-point final, but Riptide Racing, which had lost only one race in the competition to that point, then leveled out the series in the second race. The New Zealand team came back strongly in Race 3, demonstrating impressive speed and boat handling. But Riptide Racing, again, responded by leveling the match 2 – 2 to take the Final to a winner-takes-all deciding race. The New Zealand team won the start of the final race and proceeded strongly, with the Oyster Bay team looking out of touch. But the Americans took advantage of the strengthening wind in the final run, with only two boat lengths separating the finalists, meters from the finish. The New Zealanders, building on the strong start, managed to hold onto their lead and cross the finish line as World Champions. “We are just stoked to win, it’s a dream come true for us” commented the New Zealand team’s captainEgnot-Johnson. “Chris and the Riptide team have been a rival for such a long time so it was awesome to come up against them in the finals, you can’t get any closer than that to finish – Sydney really turned it on for us today, it’s an amazing feeling.” Over the five days, 106 races were completed, with average wind strength of a brisk 22 knots over the series. Riptide Racing was created in 2012 by skipper Chris Poole. In its first year, the Oyster Bay team made it to fourth in the U.S. in the match racing circuit.