On a day that started out slow and frustrating, and finished off with some crash, bang matches, New Zealand's Phil ROBERTSON won the 2009 Warren Jones International Youth Regatta, beating Sydneysider Evan WALKER two races to one in the final.
Earlier in the day Phil ROBERTSON
(NZL) and his Panama Jack Team had demolished Royal Perth Yacht Club skipper Robert GIBBS
(AUS) in the semi-final, while Evan WALKER
(AUS) had downed the early favourite Keith SWINTON
(AUS) of South of Perth Yacht Club 3-1 in the other semi.
When he came ashore at the end of the day, the young Auckland house builder had a grin from ear to ear and just said, "very happy, stoked,"
as he came to grips with his achievement.
On reflection he added, "We always thought we could kind of get there, we thought we had a chance, we set Keith as our benchmark and when we beat him twice in the round robins we were quite stoked with that.
"We had two awesome races against him, so we always knew it was in us, but we just had to perform on the last day,"
which they did in convincing style, despite losing a man overboard in one race of the final.
Sailing with ROBERTSON were a team of impressive young sailors from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Hayden WHITBURN
, Garth ELLINGHAM
, James WILLIAMSON
, William TILLEAR and Brad FARRAND
As well as the Warren Jones Memorial Youth Trophy, the winner's spoils include invitations to the Spanish Open Match Racing Championships, and the Danish Open, one of the legs of the World Match Racing Tour
, plus a cheque that will go some way towards the expenses of getting to Europe for these regattas.
After a morning of very light and shifty winds, the legendary Fremantle Doctor eventually found its way up the Swan River by mid afternoon, giving steadier conditions for the final.
The racing with WALKER was always going to be tight, and the first heat of the final showed just how tight, when the Australian skipper tried to sneak across the Kiwi team's bow, and ended up with a hole in his boat.
On the final leg of the second race the lead changed three times, with Walker just grabbing the point, but ROBERTSON took charge of the decider and didn't let go, to claim the trophy which was originally given to the crew of Australia II by the New York Yacht Club at the America's Cup Jubilee in 2001.
Final Results - click here