The future match racing skills required for America’s Cup competition are in good hands, judging by the impressive performances shown on Sydney Harbour today when 10 teams of young sailors from Australia and overseas went head-to-head in the Har...
While the boats they are sailing, Elliott 5.9 sports boats, are tiny craft compared with the huge International America's Cup Class yachts that later this year will do battle in Auckland, they are recognised as a great starter to match racing.
Symbolically, Spirit, the Australian challenger for the 1995 America's Cup, swept majestically up the Harbour as this group of under 25-year-olds began their battle for the Hardy Cup, a trophy donated by one of Australia's greatest exponents of match racing and past America's Cup skipper, Sir James Hardy.
The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron is conducting the Hardy Cup with six overseas teams from New Zealand, Italy, Great Britain and the United States being joined by four Australian teams from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane yacht clubs in this ISAF Grade 3 International Match Racing event.
At the end of the first round robin for the two groups of five teams, Australian Nick Garland and his crew of Zac Seymour and Dan Corbett from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club unbeaten in Group A, as were the Royal Yachting Association (Great Britain) team led by Mark Campbell-James, with RSYS members, Andrew Hutchinson and Richard Ryan, as his crew, in Group B.
Garland has been one of the RPAYC's outstanding match racing sailors, including wins in the Coke Cup in New Zealand and the Royal Pines Cup in Japan in 1999
Campbell-James is a top youth match racing sailor from Britain, having won the 2000 Coke Cup in New Zealand and placed second in the 1999 Harken Cup at Pittwater.
"We really had a good day, winning every match, but I think we had the easier group, so we face some tougher competition later in the series," Campbell-James said after the first day of competition.
"We won almost every start but the breeze was light and shifty, so we had to work hard to maintain our advantage," he added.
Harken Cup winner last weekend, 19-year-old Michael Dunstan and his crew from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron had a mixed day, winning two matches but missing the start badly in their first race after mistaking the leeward mark for the pin end of the starting line in race one.
Bucklands Beach Yacht Club team from New Zealand, skippered by Patrick Leach, had an embarrassing start to their first match when they became entangled with the anchor line of the committee boat.
Sydney turned on ideal conditions for the first day of round robins, sunny skies and a light to moderate easterly sea breeze that required good tactics and boat speed.
Placings after Day One:
Group A, Round Robin 1:
1 Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (AUS) 4pts
2 Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (AUS) 2 pts
3 Buckland Beach Yacht Club (NZL) 2 pts
4 Royal Thames Yacht Club (GBR) 1 pt
5 Royal Queensland Yacht Club (AUS) 1 pt
Group B, Round Robin 1:
1 Royal Yachting Association (GBR) 4 pts
2 University of Hawaii (USA) 2 pts
3 Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (NZL) 2 pts
4 Circolo della Vela Erix (ITA) 1 pt
5 Sandringham Yacht Club (AUS) 1 pt.
Group B, Round Robin 2 (incomplete): Royal Yachting Association 2 pts; Sandringham Yacht Club 2 pts; Circolo della Vela Erix 0 pts; University of Hawaii 0 pts; Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron 0 pts.