Local sailor makes close second

Micah Wilkinson and Olivia Mackay in action during the Flying Phantom Series. Photo – Dean Treml / Red Bull.

A Cambridge sailor took to the sea outside Muscat, Oman last week competing in the Flying Phantom Series, traversing an 18ft flying catamaran over four days of competition.

Micah Wilkinson, a former Cambridge High School student, finished in second place alongside NZ team mate Olivia Mackay of Napier, competing in a smaller series held in conjunction with the Extreme Sailing Series.

The pair, who together won the Red Bull Foiling Generation World Final in 2016, were up against former rivals, the French youth team, which Micah faced along with the NZ team at the Youth America’s Cup last year, where NZ finished in a close second place.

“Our main rivals were the French youth team,” explained Micah, who is now based in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. “Over the four days we were tight with race wins going both ways. On the final day we were separated (from the French) by two points. It was not to be for us as they mastered the light winds and took victory.”

Not to be disheartened, Micah added, “Our highlight was dominating racing in strong breeze and getting to explore a part of the world we had never been to.”

Micah Wilkinson and Olivia Mackay with their second place trophies during the final race day. Photo – Dean Treml / Red Bull.

Now in Spain, Micah said it had been a bit of a shock going from 30 to 10 degrees, “but preparation is going well,” as he gets ready to enter the European sailing season, now back in his familiar Nacra 17 foiling catamaran. His first regatta starts April 2. “It will be interesting to see how we go as it’s the first time we will be racing the Europeans after a bit summer of training in New Zealand,” he said.

Though he was training on the North Shore of Auckland over the holiday period, Micah said, “I will not be dragged into supporting the Blues though and am a stout Chiefs fan.”

Before heading to the Northern Hemisphere, the 22-year-old spent a week in Cambridge assisting his dad Peter in building a box trail to cart his gear around Europe. “A big thanks to Dad and the boys at Wilkinson Transport Engineers for their help building it at late notice,” he said. “It’s an awesome piece of kit Yachting New Zealand have provided us, and we will practically be living out of it in Europe.”

Micah plans to be back in New Zealand at the end of September, following a raft of international competition – keep an eye out in the paper to see how he gets on.

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