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Top youngsters claim honours in New Zealand

Down Under adventure: young sailors Ahzai Smith, left, and Christopher Raymond

Bermudian sailors Ahzai Smith and Christopher Raymond both won their respective fleets in the Forward Sailing O’pen Cup in New Zealand.

Smith won the Gold Fleet with 15 net points, while Christopher won the Silver Fleet with 12 net points. Both 12-year-olds visited to New Zealand this month with Leah Collins, the AC Endeavour Programme Coordinator, to compete in three regattas.

They were chosen for the trip because of their performances and attendance at the Bermuda Sailing Nationals. Raymond was top America’s Cup Endeavour Programme performer in the Green Fleet and Smith was top performer in the Championship Fleet. Smith has been sailing since the age of 8 and has been recognised by America’s Cup Event Authority chief executive Sir Russell Coutts for his achievements.

The America’s Cup Endeavour Programme is an initiative which was set up to use sailing as a platform to inspire and educate young people in Bermuda and around the world.

“I am so proud of Ahzai and Christopher for their incredible efforts,” said Sylvan Richards, the Minister of Social Development and Sport. “They are both only 12 years old and it’s not always easy to be away from home at that young age, but yet they have fully embraced the opportunity and, in doing so, have made us extremely proud.”