Dunedin teen tastes cup magic

Anna Walrond, of Dunedin, in the No 3 yacht, races in the America's Cup Endeavour O'Pen Junior...
Anna Walrond, of Dunedin, in the No 3 yacht, races in the America's Cup Endeavour O'Pen Junior Regatta in Bermuda as Oracle Team USA and Team New Zealand compete for the America's Cup. PHOTOS: MAGI FOSTER & LINDA ROBERTSON
While Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA battled it out in Bermuda, a Dunedin teenager was completing the race of her life in the same waters.

Anna Walrond.
Anna Walrond.
Yesterday, Logan Park High School pupil and Ravensbourne Boating Club member Anna Walrond (14) returned from competing in the America's Cup Endeavour O'Pen Junior Regatta.

Now in her third season of sailing, Anna was one of two New Zealanders chosen by world champion yachtsman and America's Cup Event Authority chief executive Sir Russell Coutts to be sponsored to compete in the competition.

She had met Sir Russell a few times when he visited the Ravensbourne Boating Club, of which he is a former member and patron of the club's youth yachting trust.

In Bermuda, he introduced her to significant members of the sailing world.

``We got to meet a few of the event organisers and [were] able to talk with him. He has lots of tips, which was really amazing.''

Off the water, the closest she got to the Team NZ crew was walking past them.

However, on the water she was as close as some of their competitors.

``At one point we were a few hundred metres away from the finish line and they were just crossing it.

``It was amazing.''

Being so close to the action was a thrill, but the junior competitors had to be careful they did not get run over.

``They go so, so fast it could probably happen,'' she said, laughing.

Anna said her results of 30th and 27th in the One Design Division ``weren't great'' but the opportunity was life-changing.

``I saw Team New Zealand qualify and I learnt so much from just watching the other kids.''

Despite her connections with Sir Russell, Anna planned to cheer on Team NZ early this morning.


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