Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Winners decided at OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championship

29er class winners Josh Franklin and Lewis Brake. Image copyright Andrew Gough.

by Craig Heydon

Close finishes, fight-backs and continued domination were the flavours of the day as the 2011 OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth came to an end at Georges River 16ft Sailing Club in Sydney.

The 160 crews from nine countries completed their final two races on Botany Bay with a number of classes coming right down to the final race to decide the winners.

In the Laser Radial class West Australian Matthew Wearn overcame a slow start to the week to win the regatta, ahead of fellow Australian Mitchell Kennedy with Great Britain’s Elliot Hansen third.

Wearn had an amazing finish to the regatta, winning the final five races to overhaul the leaders and gain a place on the Australian Youth Sailing Team.

“I started off not so well but then began racking up the good points with five bullets to finish the regatta which was a good way to end it,” said Wearn. “There was some great competition, especially Mitchell Kennedy, it was really tough to beat him.”

Ashley Stoddart was the top female Laser Radial sailor, overtaking Alex South on the final race of the regatta to qualify for her second Australian team in three years.

“I’ve been trying to chip away all week and was always just behind Alex but it’s been really good racing,” said Stoddart. “I had a good day today, ending with a third and just tried to do the right things and not worry about the competition.”

“After not being in the Australian team last year it’s good to be back, my back is much better and I got through school, which was another hurdle, so I’m feeling really good,” she said. “I had a good little break and now ready and raring to go.”

New Caledonia’s Antoine Aubert won the overall Techno 293 class but the fight for first Australian, and a position on the Australian Youth Sailing Team, went right down to the wire with a count-back required to split Eamon Robertshaw and Sam Treharne.

Robertshaw edged out Treharne by the smallest of margins, with his final race win, compared to Treharne’s sixth, enough to get him over the line.

“It was really close between Sam and I with some great racing all week,” said Robertshaw. “I had a slow start to the regatta with a two sevenths and an OCS but worked my way back from then on and am thrilled with the result.”

“I’m really looking forward to going to my second Youth Worlds, last year was a great experience and I’ve learnt a lot since them, especially racing in big fleets,” he said.

New South Wales’ Annalise Gilbert was the leading Techno 293 female sailor and will join Robertshaw as Australia’s windsurfing representatives for the ISAF World Youth Sailing Championship.

Paul Darmanin and Aleks Vucic completely dominated the Hobie 16 class, winning all 10 races with Darmanin set to head to his second consecutive ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship after winning Gold with Chase Lurati in 2010.

“Today was a windy day which made it more fun and we had two wins out there which made it 10 straight for the week,” said Darmanin. “It’s been good to make the transition from crew to skipper and I’m happy to have done it and to be heading to my second Youth Worlds and hopefully bring home another medal.”

Lucas Price and Joshua Singh were the second placed Hobie 16 crew, ahead of Bryce Haffner and Caleb White.

The 29er class was another which wasn’t decided until the finish of the final race with Josh Franklin and Lewis Brake coming back to take the regatta win from James Sly and Thomas Dwyer by just a single point.

“It was a pretty tough week with a lot of light winds but today we had a bit of breeze in the second race which got us through,” said Franklin.

Brake said; “We were one point behind coming into the last day so we needed to win two races or get a couple of boats between us and them to win and that’s what we did. All the hard work has finally paid off and it’s going to be awesome to head to Croatia and represent Australia.”

George Davies and Jack Lloyd were third overall, with Tess Lloyd and Andrew Gillies the leading mixed crew in fourth overall and Philippa and Eliza Solly the first female crew in eighth.

Queenslanders Angus Galloway and Andrew Gough had a great regatta in the 420 class, winning six of the 10 races to finish 13 points clear of Carrie Smith and Ella Clark with Elloise Brake and Jaime Ryan in third.

The class featured close racing all week and the final day was no exception with Galloway and Gough winning both races but were pushed all the way but their competition.

The 420 class now head to Middle Harbour Yacht Club for their Australian Championships later this week with the Australian representatives for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship to be decided after the regatta.

Japan’s Yuichiro Kitamura held onto the lead in the Laser 4.7 class to finish ahead of West Australian Ben Walkemeyer with Madison Kennedy close behind in third. Walkemeyer fought back from a black flag in the opening race of the regatta to become the Australian champion.

OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championships