Friday, 23 January 2009

Warren Jones Youth Regatta 2009 Preview: Stars in the Making

Keith Swinton and crew sailing one of the Royal Perth Yacht Club's Foundation 36s at the 2008 Warren Jones Youth Regatta. Supplied image.

by John Roberson

With the 2009 Warren Jones Youth Regatta next week – 27th to 30th January at Royal Perth Yacht Club – it is amazing to see that in its short history this event has produced nine skippers who are now in the top 100 in the world. If we narrow that down a bit, there are two – Torvar Mirsky and Adam Minoprio – that are currently ranked in the top ten and four more who have made the top 50, making this regatta the launching pad for the stars.

This year ten skippers ranked between 22nd and 1,083rd in the world, will be tacking and gybing, ducking and weaving all over Matilda Bay on the Swan River, while giving their all to get their name on this prestigious trophy. Currently, after six editions of the event the honours are evenly split between Australia and New Zealand – though other nations have participated – and of the Australian victories, two go to W.A.’s Torvar Mirsky, with Sydney’s Michael Dunstan claiming the other.

This year sees three Kiwi crews crossing the Tasman, while three Sydney teams are crossing the Nullabor, to take on four boats of W.A. sailors. The competition will be hot and strong, with South of Perth Yacht Club’s Keith Swinton highest ranked at 22nd in the world. Evan Walker from Sydney’s Cruising Yacht Club is down the ladder at 41st place, but won the Alf Barbagallo Australian Match Racing Championships here in September.

From the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron comes Phil Robertson, on the 51st rung of the world ranking ladder, and winner of last year’s Youth International Match Racing Championships in Auckland. Nicky Souter representing the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Pittwater, north of Sydney is 10th on the Women’s Ranking ladder, and the current Australian Womens' Champion.

Every one of the skippers and crews competing are potential stars of the future, and for four days at the end of this month they will be on the launch pad, right here on the Swan River.

Keith Swinton AUS (SoPYC) Rank 22nd
Evan Walker AUS (CYCA) 41st
Phil Robertson NZL (RNZYS) 51st
Robert Gibbs AUS (RPYC) 62nd
Reuben Corbett NZL (RNZYS) 91st
Peter Nicholas AUS (RFBYC) 203rd
Stuart Pollard AUS (RSYS) 283rd
Matthew Steven NZL (RPNYC) 377th
Nicky Souter AUS (RPAYC) 10th (womens) 610th (open)
Brett Sharpe AUS (RFBYC) 1,083rd

Royal Perth Yacht Club

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