by John Roberson
Eight of the world’s most promising young match race skippers and their crews will gather in Perth this week to contest the Colin Mullins International Youth Regatta, travelling from as far away as Japan, New Zealand and the east coast of Australia.
The event is the first of two back-to-back youth regattas on Perth’s Swan River, which gives the young sailors a unique opportunity to accrue double world ranking points at the same venue within a ten day period.
The Colin Mullins series is a qualifying event for the more established Warren Jones International Youth Regatta.
Topping the bill for this year’s Colin Mullins Regatta is a name that is very familiar in match racing circles, Gilmour – David Gilmour, son of Peter Gilmour, who has won the Match Racing World Championship three times, and counts his time as the world number one in years rather than months.
Young David Gilmour is currently ranked 95th in the world, having cracked the top 100 for the first time last month, while Gilmour senior is currently 10th on the ladder, having dropped from 5th in December.
One can only wonder when the ascending Gilmour will pass the descending Gilmour on the ranking ladder, but you can be sure that David will have to fight tooth and nail to get the upper hand.
Sydney skipper Evan Walker’s 110th place on the rankings probably reflects the division of his time between match racing and offshore racing, rather than his true ability in this discipline, having won the Australian Championships three times.
Leading the challenge from across the Tasman Sea, is Wellington skipper Matthew Steven, ranked 126th in the world, and representing the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club.
For the first time in the history of the Colin Mullins Regatta, there is an all female crew, led by Danielle Bowater of Auckland’s Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, who is 69th on the women’s world rankings.
Making the trip from Japan is Kosaku Yoshida of the Japan Yacht Matchracing Association, he is ranked 302nd in the world, and will gain valuable experience at these events.
Both regattas are hosted by the Royal Perth Yacht Club, with the Colin Mullins event running from 26th to 29th January, while the Warren Jones Regatta runs from 30th January to 3rd February.
Skipper Country Club Ranking
David Gilmour AUS RFBYC 95
Evan Walker AUS CYCA 110
Matthew Steven NZL RPNYC 126
Tristan Brown AUS RFBYC 190
Kosaku Yoshida JPN JYMA 302
Harry Thurston NZL RNZYS 628
Danielle Bowater NZL RNZYS 787 (Women’s 69)
Tom Johnson AUS RFBYC unranked
Colin Mullins regatta