The inaugural Liquid Office Under-25s Match Racing Series, held on Pittwater in Australia over the long weekend, was won by one of three teams representing the Royal Prince Alfred Team.
The team, led by Nick Garland with crew Zac Seymour and Dan Corlett, sailed off with a slam win in the best-of-three finals against a team representing the NSW Institute of Sport. The Institute's team was headed by Ben Austin (Kurrajong NSW) with his crew Ben Lamb (Belmont) and Pittwater sailor Nick Skulander. All are representative Laser sailors and had never sailed in a match racing series or as a team.
The finals saw some fast manoeuvres and athletic crew work as the teams twisted and turned for position prior to the start. In Race One of the finals, Nick Garland took the lead at the start, before losing ground briefly as Ben Austin gained upwind. Garland pulled away down wind around the leeward mark to win by 30 sec.
In Race 2, Garland incurred a penalty but his experience showed when he took advantage of a shift to the right, winning by over a minute. Towards the afternoon, the prevailing nor'easter increased with gusts to up 20 knots. Austin, with a 50kg weight advantage, was in a commanding position in Race Three as Garland struggled for speed, but a glitch in the visitors' kite set allowed the local team to take the win by 20secs.
Garland paid tribute to his team, all members of the Alfred's training program, and to the recently appointed coach Des Davis. He and other members of the team will next contest the Hardy Shield at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron in November.
For Ben Austin and his team, the first time experience gave them a new perspective on sailing. "We've all came back from the Worlds (Lasers) and we have a bit of a break, so we decided to try something different," he said. "We really enjoyed it, it was a lot of fun. With Match Racing you really have to change how you think about racing. It is about working with other people instead of being by yourself," he said.
The next Youth Match Racing Series will be the international Harken Youth Match Racing Series Series for under 20's at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on November 22 2001.
Story from the Australian Yachting Federation website.
1. (NSW) Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club - Nick Garland, Zac Seymour, Dan Corlett
2. (NSW) NSW Inst. Sport - Ben Austin, Ben Lamb, Nick Skulander
3. (WA) Royal Perth YC: Justin Mann, James Barr, Paul Clarke
4: (VIC) Sandringham YC: Scott Walton, Joe Turner, Martin Trembath
5 (VIC) Royal Brighton Yacht Club: David Barnes, Glenn Austin, Melissa Chisholm
6. (NSW) Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club: Katie Spithill, Murray Gordon, Emma Bullough
7. (NZ) Royal New Zealand Yacht Club: Joanna White, Trent Ross, Aimee Famularo
8. (NSW) Royal Prince Alfred Y C: Alex Anderson, Simon Trembath, Chris Anderson
9. (NSW) Lake Macquarie Yacht Club: Huon Oliver, Adam Minter, Tom Freeman