McKenzie and Henry are previous members of World Sailing's Emerging Nations Program which proved to be an important component in their development as they grew from sailing Optimists in their early teens through to the Laser class.
McKenzie, 20, has been sailing since she was 12 and started international competition in 2009. "I competed in the Pacific Mini Games held in the Cook Islands, and I won bronze. Then I went to the Youth Olympics in 2010 in Singapore and after that to other Pacific Games and to events in Australia and New Zealand.
"I went to the Santander World Championships in 2014 under the Emerging Nations Program. Having the program has helped us a lot; being able to travel to the host nation and gain the experience," McKenzie said.
"It has given me opportunities to go to competitions I would never have dreamed of. Being able to race with people from all around the world; for me that was an amazing experience. It goes to show we can go places even though we are from the Pacific. Hopefully this will build up for the next generation of Cook Islands sailors."
Henry, 25, started sailing in a wooden Optimist when he was nine. "From there I went to the plastic [Optimist] and then upgraded to a Laser. We had the double-hulled Sunburst, but it was kind of slow and we needed something quick. The only other option was the Laser," Henry said. He started travelling overseas for international competition in 2007 and has since participated in eight of the Emerging Nations camps.
"The camps have kept me driving through the years to keep improving and going into an Olympic campaign they have really helped a lot. Competing overseas and meeting up with the same sailors has created a sailing family for me," he added.
Both sailors want one thing from this week; to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition.
They have been on the road to this dream for three years, spending long months in Europe racing in among the top of their class. With Olympic qualification imminent, the pair have spent the last four weeks working intensely with Aussie coach Laura Baldwin at her training facility just north of Sydney.
McKenzie wants to end up in the top 10 in the Laser Radials, guaranteeing her a place in Sunday's Medal Race. Henry hopes to achieve a top 20 place against a fleet of 34 experienced international competitors.
Racing in the Laser and Laser Radial classes continues through to Sunday's Medal Races on the stadium course off St Kilda Pier when the Sailing World Cup Melbourne final results will be decided and the winners duly rewarded.
RESULTS / ENTRIES
Results will be available throughout when racing commences on 9 December here - http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php
The racing will be available to watch in 2D and 3D via the live tracking. Live tracking will be available when racing commences via - http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/multimedia/tracking.php
Live Tracking via the Sailviewer-3D Tablet App will be available for devices with 7" or greater screens.
Click here to download the iOS Application - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sailviewer-3d/id912801278
Click here to download the Android Application - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.stsportservice.sailviewer
The Competition Status Screen feeds in straight from the Race Committee boats with the teams inputting data such as race times, course type, the status of each race and the plan moving forward. The competition status screen will be available when racing commences via - http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/multimedia/tracking.php
The hashtag of Sailing World Cup Melbourne is #SWCMelb
Follow the event on World Sailing's social networks:
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ISAFWorldSailing
Instagram - https://instagram.com/isafworldsailing/
Twitter - @ISAFupdates
Follow the event on World Cup Melbourne's social networks
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Twitter - www.twitter.com/SWCMelbourne
Instagram - www.instagram.com/isafsailingworldcupmelbourne
Sailing World Cup
The Sailing World Cup is a world-class annual series for Olympic sailing. It is open to the sailing events chosen for the 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. Its centre piece is the Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The 2016 Sailing World Cup will consist of five regattas for all ten Olympic events and where possible, Formula Kite Racing. Qualification places for the Sailing World Cup final are up for grabs at each event. The final will bring together the top 20 boats in each Olympic event and an Open Kiteboarding event where the World Cup champions will be crowned
2016 Sailing World Cup
Melbourne - 7-13 December 2015
Miami - 23-30 January 2016
Hyères - 25 April - 1 May 2016
Weymouth and Portland - 6-12 June 2016
Qingdao - 12-18 September 2016
2015 Final Abu Dhabi - 24-28 October 2016