Monday, 8 February 2010

Hardy Cup: Kiwis out in force for Aussie Youth Match Racing International

Adrian Short leading the ASDS girls of Nicole Souter to the top mark in the 2009 Hardy Cup. Image copyright Aline Van Haren.

by Peter Campbell

Young New Zealand sailors have their sights set on again winning the prestigious Hardy Cup under 25 ISAF Grade 3 Match Racing Regatta on Sydney Harbour.

Kiwis have won the Cup three times since the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron began conducting the event in its present international format and have three strong teams in this year’s Cup.

The four-day Hardy Cup, founded by eminent Australian America’s Cup and Olympic yachtsman Sir James Hardy and sailed in Elliott 6 sports boats, is scheduled to start tomorrow on Sydney Harbour with teams from New Zealand, the USA, Western Australia and New South Wales.

Heading the New Zealand contingent is William Tiller from Auckland’s Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, fresh from his hard-fought win the Warren Jones International Regatta on Perth’s Swan River last week. Tiller has an impressive match-racing record in Grade 3 events, with wins in the 2009 Harken International Youth Regatta and the Governor’s Cup at Newport Beach, USA.

Three of the top four teams in the Warren Jones Regatta are competing in the Hardy Cup – William Tiller from the RNZYS and David Gilmour and Peter Nicholas, both from Perth’s Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, who placed third and fourth. Gilmour last year won the Grade 4 WA State Match Racing Championship while Nicholas is regarded as an up-and-coming match racing helmsman, showing skilful tactics in the Warren Jones.

The other NZ skippers are defending Cup Champion Adrian Short, like Tiller a graduate of the RNZYS’s Lion Foundation Development Squad, and Josh Junior from Wellington’s Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club. Short’s campaign has been strengthened with Scott Burling, who finished third in the CYCA’s Musto International Open Match Racing Regatta, electing to join him as a crew member rather than skipper in his own right. Junior, who has an ISAF ranking of 81, established his credentials with wins last year in the Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship in Sydney and the Youth International Match Racing Championship in Auckland.

Previous NZ winners of the Hardy Cup have been Adrian Short, Laurie Jury and Adam Minoprio.

Another past Hardy Cup winner competing is the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Evan Walker who won in 2008, while also representing the CYCA is William Mackenzie. Walker, with an ISAF ranking of 58, last year placed second in the Warren Jones Regatta and third in the Hardy Cup before winning the Captain Piper and Navionics regattas in Sydney. Mackenzie last year placed third in the Club Marine NSW Youth Match Racing Championship.

David Chapman and Jordan Reece are the two skippers representing the RSYS. Despite disappointing results in Perth last week, they are expected to do better in the more familiar Elliott 6s being used for the Hardy Cup. Chapman has been actively match racing overseas during the past year, including a first and a second in two Grade 3 events in Poland and a fourth in a Grade 2 event in Estonia. Reece has confined his match racing to Australia and New Zealand, his best results being a fourth in the Grade 3 Harken International Youth Match Racing Regatta at Newport and a second in the Grade 3 Club Marine NSW Youth Match Racing Championship on the Harbour.

Representing the USA for the first time is the only woman skipper in this year’s Hardy Cup, Maegan Ruhlman from the Pymatuning Yacht Club. With an ISAF women’s ranking of 60.

Maegan has had extensive match-racing in North America, including finishing runner-up in the Grade 3 Royal Canadian Yacht Club’s Women’s invitational Match Racing Regatta at Toronto and the US Match Race Championship area semi-final qualifier sailed at Sheboygan, USA, during 2009. She also finished sixth in the Grade 2 Buddy Melges Challenge in Wisconsin.

Hardy Cup

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