With the 2009 Warren Jones Youth Regatta next week - 27-30 January at Royal Perth Yacht Club - it is amazing to see that in its short history this event has produced nine skippers who are now in the top 100 in the world.
If that list is narrowed down a bit, there are two - Torvar MIRSKY
(AUS) and Adam MINOPRIO
(NZL) - that are currently ranked in the top 10 of the ISAF World Match Race Rankings
and four more who have made the top 50, making this regatta the launching pad for the stars.
This year 10 skippers, ranked between #22 and #1083 in the world, will be tacking and gybing, ducking and weaving all over Matilda Bay on the Swan River, while giving their all to get their name on this prestigious trophy. Currently, after six editions of the event the honours are evenly split between Australia and New Zealand - though other nations have participated - and of the Australian victories, two go to Western Australia's MIRSKY, with Sydney's Michael DUNSTAN
claiming the other.
This year sees three Kiwi crews crossing the Tasman, while three Sydney teams are crossing the Nullabor, to take on four boats of WA sailors. The competition will be hot and strong, with South of Perth Yacht Club's Keith SWINTON
(AUS) highest ranked at #22 in the world. Evan WALKER
(AUS) from Sydney's Cruising Yacht Club is down the ladder at #41, but won the Alf Barbagallo Australian Match Racing Championships here in September.
From the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron comes Phil ROBERTSON
(NZL), on the 51st rung of the World Ranking ladder, and winner of last year's Youth International Match Racing Championships in Auckland. Nicky SOUTER
(AUS) representing the Royal Prince Alfreds Yacht Club on Pittwater, north of Sydney is #10 on the Women's Ranking ladder, and the current Australian Women's Champion.
Every one of the skippers and crews competing are potential stars of the future, and for four days at the end of this month they will be on the launch pad, right here on the Swan River.
(Competitor, Club - ISAF World Match Race Ranking)
(AUS), SoPYC - 22
(AUS), CYCA - 41
(NZL), RNZYS - 51
(AUS), RPYC - 62
(NZL), RNZYS - 91
(AUS), RFBYC - 203
(AUS), RSYS - 283
(NZL), RPNYC - 377
(AUS), RPAYC - 610 (open), 10 (women)
(AUS), RFBYC - 1,083