On a day fraught with changing winds and subsequent changes to the course, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron team has emerged for the second year in a row, as winner of 2001 the Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship.
The team of Michael Dunstan, Mark Dorling and Charles Ellis sailed off in a one-race only Grand Final sail-off over the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. The RNZYS team included Ryan Houston, Matt Stuart and Troy Tindall.
The four day Series, one of the top two events for youth aged 15-19 has been hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Pittwater. Twelve teams from Australia, Japan, USA, New Zealand and Great Britain have contested the races through a series of eliminating Round Robins.
The Petit Final for third and fourth place was won by the Royal Yachting Association helmed by Britain's current Youth Match Racing Champion Paul Campbell-James with crew Alex Cherry and Nick Hutton. The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (red) helmed by Katie Spithill with Murray Gordon and Dan Corlett were fourth.
RPAYC Yachting Administrator Denis Thompson said, " It was tough racing, very, very close. The winds were very shifty, at one stage they swung 360 degrees in half an hour. To make it fair for all teams, we had to change courses several times and in the end, we could only manage one race each in the Grand Finals and the Petit Finals," said Thompson.
RSYS's helmsman Michael Dunstan "There's not many regattas in the world where people our age can have such a high level of competition against Australians as well as those from overseas," he said. "This is the sort of event where you make long-time mates.
At 19 years of age, Dunstan has raced his last youth match racing series. " There's not much available for 20-25 year olds, but I am hoping this will lead to opportunities on the bigger boats and the professional circuit," he said.
"These sort of races are very important for training young people," said Denis Thompson. "We are very grateful to sponsors such as Harken who are prepared to back these events. It can only encourage more young sailors who will ultimately develop into highly professional and competitive crews," he said.
International Judge and Umpire Shane Borrell from New Zealand said, "The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club has organised a superb event for young people. The weather conditions have made setting the courses very difficult and the yachting staff have to be applauded for the effort they put for making the races as fair as they did." .
Borrell was one of ten top-grade umpires who attended the event from Australia, New Zealand and the USA.
Final placings in the Series are:
1- Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (AUS)
2- Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (NZL)
3- Royal Yachting Association (GBR)
4- Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (AUS)
5- Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (AUS)
6- Mission Bay Yacht Club (USA)
7- Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (AUS)
8- Weiheke Boating Club (NZL)
9- Wangi Amateur Sailing Club (AUS)
10- Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (AUS)
11- Fukuoka Yacht Club (JAP)
12- Lake Macquarie Yacht Club (AUS)