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4 September 2009, 11:53 am
Australian Match Racing Championships Gets Underway Today
Match racing in the Force 24s on Pittwater
Match racing in the Force 24s on Pittwater

Australian Match Racing Championship 2009
Melbourne, Australia

The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in conjunction with Yachting Australia plays host to the Australian Match Racing Championships to be held between the 4-8 September, with racing on majestic Pittwater.
Nine teams will contest this ISAF Grade 3 event with racing on the club's fleet of Force 24s keelboats.

The event will see some highly credentialed match racers with the return of some familiar faces in Michael Dunstan and Seve Jarvin. Dunstan, a fierce competitor, has won the nationals three times previously in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and will be a welcome return to the match racing circuit.

Jarvin, also returning to the match racing circuit previously contested this event in 2005, when it was also hosted by the RPAYC. He was beaten by Dunstan in the final to finish runner-up. Jarvin has recently been campaigning his 18 footer "Gotta Love it 7" with great success over the past few years.

Last year's winner of the Australian Open Match Racing Championships held in Perth, Evan Walker representing the CYCA, comes into this event as the top ranked helmsman currently ranked at #46 on the ISAF World Rankings. He will be one to watch having won this event the last two years and will be eager to pick up the hat trick.

The RPAYC will be well represented with three teams in the event. Murray Gordon and his crew of Justin Lambeth, Ian McKillop and Hamish Roughley have been training hard for this event and are looking forward to hitting the water. Three of the four are graduates of the RPAYC Youth Development programme.

In addition, there is a team representing the RPAYC current Youth Development squad including recently crowned Hobie 16 World Champion Jason Waterhouse on the helm. He is eager to take his winning formula from the twin hulls into keelboat match racing.

Rounding out the RPAYC contingent is six times National Women's Match Racing Champion and current ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion Nicky Souter. Souter comes into this regatta in hot form following their recent tour to Europe with the Australian Sailing Development Squad. Souter will jump from one race track to another having just been announced the compasscard Australian Women's Match Racing Champion on the harbour on a countback over RPAYC's Katie Spithill.

The nine teams competing in the event are:

Evan Walker (AUS)
David Chapman (AUS)
William Mackenzie (AUS)
Jordan Reece (AUS)
Nicky Souter (AUS)
Jason Waterhouse (AUS)
Murray Gordon (AUS)
Seve Jarvin (AUS)
Michael Dunstan (AUS)

The courses to be sailed will be windward and leeward legs with starboard rounding's finishing downwind. The experienced RO Ted Anderson is "looking forward to a great regatta and with the readiness of the Force 24s and the new sails including a heavy weather jib gives us the ability to get through the exciting racing format, in all conditions. The forecast is looking promising."

Tomorrow competitors will assemble at the RPAYC for registration, weigh in and a practice session. The Force 24s are ready to go after they were all slipped and have a brand new set of sails to go with them. Following this the RPAYC will host a welcoming function and mandatory umpire briefing for all competitors, umpires and volunteers in attendance.

Racing gets underway on Saturday morning with the finals to be held on Tuesday 8 September.
Damian Devine
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