Newport's Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club will again welcome top international youth sailors to its doors for the 22nd HARKEN International Youth Match Racing Championship to be sailed on Pittwater commencing with Round Robin racing starting Wednesday 19 through to Sunday 23 November.
The Club's brand new fleet of 8 Elliot 7m keelboats will be used throughout the regatta. The yachts are identical and rotated during the event placing the focus squarely on skipper and crew. Dependant on weight limits, each boat will have between 4 and 5 sailors. This year’s field of 13 skippers (U21) includes 5 international teams and 3 female skippers.
This event has served as a launch pad for numerous yachting stars including dual winner and current Rolex World Sailor of the Year James Spithill. Match racing places great emphasis on teamwork whilst "keeping the lid on" under pressure, so its ongoing attraction to sailors aspiring to Olympic and Americas Cup level is hardly surprising. Lead changes right on the finish line are not uncommon so it pays to never give up.
Representing the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, top seeded Harry Price (87th on the ISAF open international rankings) will have big shoes to fill, with sister Olivia winning a Silver medal for match racing at the last Olympics. However the Alfred's Milly Bennett leading an all girl crew and runner up in the recent Women's Nationals, has a score to settle with him after a mistake on her part handed Price's team the recent State Championships.
A top supporting cast has been assembled including Race Officer Ted Anderson, one of Australia's most experienced having been part of the race management team for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and Phil Mostyn International Judge/Umpire flown in from WA to head up the on-water umpiring team.
By Arthur Spithill