Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron member David Chapman deservedly won the Hardy Cup Under 25 ISAF Grade 3 match racing regatta on Sydney Harbour at his fifth and final attempt.
With him being over the age limit to compete next year Chapman was elated, "What a way to sail your final Hardy Cup,"
said an excited Chapman after a final day of incredibly close match racing in the Squadron's fleet of Elliott 6 sports boats.
Chapman and his crew sailed 11 flights on the last day, five to complete round-robin 3, two in winning their semi-final and four in the final, in which they won a hard-fought match, 3-1, against West Australia David Gilmour from the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club.
The winning crew comprised three sailors from three different clubs, David Chapman (Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron), Ollie Nicholas (Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania) and Daniel Nixon (Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club).
The regatta was the first time they had sailed together, but their collective skills in helming, tactics and sail handling gave them victory on a final day of competition in a fresh to strong Sydney nor'easter that reached 22 knots.
While the 24-year-old Chapman has a long experience in Elliott 6s and Hardy Cup competitions, for Nicholas and Nixon it was their first time crewing in the Elliott 6 sports boats in the event.
Tomorrow, it will be back to big boat sailing for Chapman and Nicholas, who have been invited to crew aboard the Tasmanian yacht Cougar II in sailing's new Formula 1 circuit on Port Phillip when Sandringham Yacht Club hosts the first round of the inaugural Australian TP52 Southern Cross Cup.
Cougar II, skippered by Tony Lyall, also from the RYCT, is one of seven TP52s and one RP52 competing over the weekend on the bay.
"We're flying down to Melbourne tonight after the trophy presentation for the Hardy Cup,"
a delighted Chapman said after beating West Australian David Gilmour in the final of the Hardy Cup, 3-1.
"Then on Monday I will be in Hobart to be tactician aboard the Farr 40 Voodoo Chile in the Combined Clubs harbour race that will be part of the 175th Royal Hobart Regatta,"
Later in the month, Chapman and Nicholas will be aboard opposing Farr 40s in the Australian championship in Sydney, Chapman tactician on Andrew Hunn's Voodoo Chile and Nicholas bowman on Craig Clifford's POW.
The final flights of round-robin 3 on the final day saw a major upset when RSYS novice helmsman Nick Howe scored his first win the regatta, beating overall leader David Chapman by just one second. It was one of Chapman's three losses from eight matches in the third round-robin.
However, Chapman still finished at the top of the leader board after stage one with a total of 18 points, as did the third RSYS team led by Jordan Reece. Reece had an outstanding third round-robin winning seven of the eight matches he sailed.
Also qualifying for the semi-finals was New Zealander Chris Steele from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron who finished on 17 points, also winning seven out of eight matches in the third round-robin, and West Australian David Gilmour.
Gilmour, winner of last week's Warren Jones International Youth Regatta in Perth, had six wins in round-robin 3 to qualify for the semi-finals with a stage one total of 14 points.
Missing out were Ashlen Rooklyn (CYCA) 12 points, Jay Griffin (CYCA) 11 points, Sam Gilmour (RFBY) 10 points, Adam Middleton (RPNYC) 7 points and Nick Howe (RSYS) 1 point.
Leading the standings, Chapman had the choice of opponents in his semi-final, picking Jordan Reece and beating him 2-0. David Gilmour had a tough opponent in the other semi-final in Chris Steele but came out on top winning 2-1.
Then followed the Petit Final, with Steele beating Rees in a hard-fought series, winning 2-1 to claim third overall in the regatta.
In the final, Chapman won the first flight, but Gilmour and his crew of Will McKenzie and Luke Payne fought back to level at 1-all. However, Chapman proved superior in the next two to take the best of five final 3-1.
Penalties were a key factor in the first and third flights of the final and in the deciding fourth flight the two boats were never more than two boat lengths apart.
"Apart from the fact that we won, this has been the best Hardy Cup I've sailed in, with an exceptionally high standard of competition and excellent race management and umpiring,"