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7 January 2009, 03:47 pm
Aussie Young Guns Prepare For Youth Worlds Qualifier At Mandurah
Launching for the Invitiation Race
Launching for the Invitiation Race


The young sailing stars of Australia are gearing up for the start of the 2009 OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championship, a key selection event for the Aussie team set to compete at the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship.
The magnificent Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club opened its' doors for the final day of registration of the OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championship. The hustle and bustle started early with competitors finalising their preparations before the practise race that started at 14:00 today. With a ridge of high pressure developing south of the state, strong sea breezes are expected until the final day of racing. Race Officer, Chris KELLY is preparing his team to get most of the 11 races completed before Sunday due to the light and variable breeze forecast that day. The regatta is therefore shaping up to be a test of strong wind skills, fitness and endurance.

The Club Commodore, Gerry PIETERSON has reason to be proud of his club as the facilities are fantastic. For the sailors there are large open rigging lawns, a specially built harbour for safe launching straight out to the pristine waters of Comet Bay, changing rooms and cafes. For the parents and support staff and volunteers there is an impressive sized bar and seating area.

Youth Worlds Qualifier

Not only are there National titles up for grabs but this event also forms part of the selection for the 2009 OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Sailing Team. That team will represent Australia at the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship, which will be hosted in Buzios, Brazil from 9-18 July with titles up for grabs in the following events:

Boy's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Girl's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Boy's Two Person Dinghy - 420
Girl's Two Person Dinghy - 420
Boy's Windsurfer - RS:X with 8.5m2 sail & 60cm fin
Girl's Windsurfer - RS:X with 8.5m2 sail & 60cm fin
Open Multihull - Hobie 16 with Spinnaker

Last years OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Team 29er helm, Byron WHITE is back this year with a new class and crew. The 15 year old from Sydney won the silver medal at the 2008 29er World Championships and finished fifth with his crew Rhys MARA at the 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Denmark. This year WHITE is sailing the 420 with Jay GRIFFIN. The pair finished fifth in the Australian 420 Class Championship last week which was hosted at Royal Perth Yacht Club. WHITE is feeling confident going into the final round of the OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Team Trials, "We have great speed in these conditions. We really like the strong winds and big waves. I think it's going to be a good event, it's been very well organised so far".

Chasing WHITE and GRIFFIN after finishing sixth at the 420 Class Championship are Karl BROMFIELD and Marcus CONWAY from NSW. CONWAY excitedly explained how his result qualified him to compete at the 2009 420 Class World Championship in Lake Garda. "Now to qualify for the Youth Worlds would be the icing on the cake. We are currently fifth in the trials so there is a chance. It's been really great experiencing different racing conditions at these two event venues and it should mix things up a bit. We had flat water on the Swan River last week at Class Nationals and this week we have big waves. We like the big waves best". CONWAY is planning to follow his twin brothers into the 470 fleet next year.

Leading the 420 Class in the 2009 OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Team Trials are Western Australia's David GILMORE and James OMAY followed by fellow WAIS sailors, Matthew JERWOOD and Patrick VOS. In third place are Sean OTT and Adam LAHEY from Queensland.

In the women's 420 fleet, Lauren THREDGOLD and Megan SOULSBY, members of Adelaide Sailing Club are preparing themselves for their third Australian Youth Championship and are hoping it will be third time lucky. "We are second in the trials for the OAMPS Insurance Brokers Youth Team after the Australian 420 Class Championship behind Amy KIVELL and Jaqueline GURR. This is my last chance as I turn 18 next year" THREDGOLD continued, "After this my goal is to be as good as Tessa PARKINSON and Elise RECHICHI, the 470 Olympic gold medallists!"

Racing begins tomorrow and continues through until 11 January.

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship - www.sailing.org/youthworlds
Laura Baldwin
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