Saturday, 5 March 2011
by Craig Heydon
After the opening two rounds of the new Youth Sailing Grand Prix the competition is tight at the top of all classes as racing heads to South Australia for round three.
The Youth Sailing Grand Prix has been developed to help create Australia’s next group of world and Olympic champion sailors.
Competition kicked off just after Christmas with class specific Australian Championships before the sailors hit the water at the OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championship.
The Youth Sailing Grand Prix is open to Australian sailors under 19 years of age and is designed to build a strong national competition that encourages youth participation, providing young sailors with the chance to race at a number of regattas around the country against strong opposition.
After the opening two rounds on the east coast racing now heads halfway across the country for the Adelaide International Regatta, a three day regatta from March 12 to 14.
West Australian Matthew Wearn leads the way in the Laser Radial boys class with a perfect two wins from two regattas. Wearn has a slender lead over Mitchell Kennedy from Queensland who finished one place behind in both regattas with Victorian Jeremy O’Connell third.
In the Laser Radial girls class Queensland’s Ashley Stoddart leads the way ahead of New South Wales sailor Alex South with a second Queenslander, Ella Evans, rounding out the top three.
In the Laser 4.7 boys class Benjamin Walkemeyer of Western Australia has won the opening two rounds to lead from New South Welshman Nicholas Connor with Tasmanian Kailis Johnson third.
Queenslander, and 2010 Youth Olympic Games representative, Madison Kennedy, leads the Laser 4.7 girls class with Sophie Chesterman of Tasmania second and Victorian Melissa Hitchen-Haw third.
The Bic Techno class has only had one round of racing so far, the OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championship and Eamon Robertshaw from Western Australian leads the boys class, with Sydney sailor Sam Treharne second and West Australian Alex Stephens third.
In the Bic Techno girls class Annalise Gilbert of New South Wales is first with Queenslander Lara O’Brien second.
The double handed classes are just as tight with only a handful of points separating the leaders in the Hobie 16, 420 and 29er classes.
In the Hobie 16 class New South Welshman Paul Darmanin and his South Australian crew Alecs Vucic lead after winning the opening two regattas, including taking out every single race at the OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championship. The pair are followed by two New South Wales crews with Lucas Price and Joshua Singh second and Bryce Haffner and Caleb White third.
Carrie Smith and Ella Clark, from Western Australia, lead the 420 girls class, with Queenslanders Elloise Brake and Jaime Ryan second and New South Wales sailors Milly Bennett and Jessica Russell third.
In the 420 boys class Queenslanders Angus Galloway and Alex Gough have gotten their Youth Sailing Grand Prix campaign off to a great start with two wins from two events to lead from Victorians Thomas Klemens and William Llewelyn with Tasmanians Alec Bailey and Henry Goodfellow third.
Queensland pair Josh Franklin and Lewis Brake have two wins in the 29er class to lead from two Victorian crews, James Sly and Thomas Dwyer, and George Davies and Jack Lloyd.
In the race for the State Trophy, Queensland has a slender five point lead over New South Wales with Western Australia nine points further back in third.
Yachting Australia is awarding prize money for the Youth Sailing Grand Prix, with up to $3,000 per winning crew, dependent on the class. This is designed to assist with the costs incurred campaigning with the winners required to use the funds to compete at further events.
Following the Adelaide International Regatta racing then heads to the OAMPS Insurance Brokers Victorian State Championships in April before the focus then shifts to Western Australia for the Mandurah Easter Regatta before moving to Queensland for the OAMPS Insurance Brokers Queensland Youth Week in July.
After a break racing resumes in October with the OAMPS Insurance Brokers New South Wales State Youth Championships before a final race to the line with Sail Sydney, the Hobart Showdown Regatta, Sail Melbourne and Sail Brisbane.
For more information on the Youth Series Grand Prix visit www.facebook.com/YouthSailingGP or follow the series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/YouthSailingGP. The policy document and point score for the series can be found on the Yachting Australia website.