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20 November 2006, 11:24 am
WALKER Wins
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Bavaria Yachts International Youth Match Racing Regatta 2006
Sydney, Australia

Camaraderie was put on hold on Sunday afternoon as two Cruising Yacht Club of Australia teams met in the finals of the ISAF Grade 3 Bavaria Yachts International Youth Match Racing Regatta sailed on Sydney Harbour, Australia. The defending club for the fourth consecutive year retained the perpetual trophy thanks to a brilliant effort over the four day regatta by the eventual winner, Evan WALKER (AUS), and runner up Will RYAN (AUS).
Their local knowledge, crew work and superb handling of the Elliott 6s saw them dominate from the outset.

WALKER drew first blood in the final and although RYAN constantly threatened, the Australian Youth Match Racing Champion added another major title to his sailing resume. Coincidentally, on Sunday morning WALKER drew the Bavaria Yachts Elliott 6 and managed to sail the regatta and sponsor's boat to victory much to the delight of those on the Bavaria Yachts hospitality boat.

Aggressive Sailing

With RYAN chasing his first major win and WALKER the more highly ranked, both had something to lose this afternoon and this showed in their sailing. Aggressive pre-starts and close upwind tacking duels gave spectators plenty of heart stopping moments.

With WALKER one up in the finals, RYAN was black flagged and subsequently disqualified in race two after being overlapped to leeward and having room called three times by Walker to which he failed to respond.

In the third and final race, WALKER gained the upper hand early, locking RYAN and his crew of Jye MURRAY (AUS) and Kyle LANGFORD (AUS), WALKER's regular bowman, against the Race Committee boat and leaving them dead in the water at the start. RYAN responded with an aggressive tacking duel all the way to the top mark but WALKER held the lead and with a perfectly executed spinnaker set rode a well timed gust to maintain the separation and seal the regatta with a 3-0 result.

No more than two boat lengths separated WALKER and RYAN at any stage in the final race, RYAN applying constant pressure until the dying moments. America's Cup umpire Richard SLATER (AUS) commented that the end result was not indicative of the closeness of the racing between these two skippers.

WALKER Relief

'We are relieved to have won,' said a delighted WALKER. 'All the teams sailed really well during the round robins and wins were not easy to come by.

'After we won the first race of the finals, we had more confidence going into the second,' he added, putting their result down to more experience in the pre-starts and their crew work. For this regatta WALKER combined with Robert GIBBS (AUS), an experienced youth match racing skipper in his own right, and newcomer Jeremy WAWN (AUS) on the bow.

WALKER knocked the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club's Andrew HUDSON (AUS) out of finals contention with a 2-0 result in the semi final leaving HUDSON and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron's Ed QUARTLY (AUS) to meet to determine who would complete the podium places.

Podium Battle

HUDSON and QUARTLY won a race apiece and in the third and final race, HUDSON picked up a penalty for gybing too close during the pre-start which he managed to burn off while he tried to force QUARTLY into an overlap situation downwind. QUARTLY would not be drawn and finished the race with a text book spinnaker run to the finish line to place third overall with HUDSON fourth.

While the semi-finals were being played out, the remaining six teams sailed off for the minor placings in a light 7-9 knot north northwesterly breeze.

Lisa Ratcliff (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Evan WALKER and Will RYAN starting one of their finals races:© Christine Webb
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