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11 January 2005, 11:52 am
Final Report
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Australian Youth Championships
Lake Macquarie, Australia

The final day of racing in the 2005 Australian Youth Championship began in moderate sunny conditions on Lake Macquarie with a gradient SE 10kt breeze which strengthened, oscillated and moved left throughout the day. It was a tense but impressive day's racing across the classes as positions shifted and competitors fought hard for each metre gained and lost.
Racing was close and aggressive in the 420 fleet it was an interesting spectacle at the top mark today as the Mistral, Laser and 420 fleets vied for position, rounding hair lengths apart. Craig SOUTER and Jeremy ROBERTS from Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club have won the boys division by two points to Western Australia's Stephen THOMAS and Tim RECHICHI.

The Singapore girls have been an impressive force in their division: Dawn LUI and Siobhan TAM are overall winners on 14 points and an ecstatic Sarah Wei Lin TAN and Tre Ting LIM won both of today's races finishing the final race ahead of the entire fleet and finishing second overall. Stephanie and Emma FLUKES of Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania in third place are winners of the Australian Championship title. With only three 420s racing regularly in the State they have improved consistently in the class since the nationals in December and are in good contention for a position in the National Team.

Another outstanding performance from one of the twelve Singapore entries in the Championship is Maximilian SOH winning the Laser division by eleven points from Ballarat Yacht Club's Tom WATSON. The Singapore Sailors have certainly made a positive impact at this regatta, boosting the competition. Watson credits Soh as 'pushing him in each race to work harder and sail smarter.'

Racing has been tight in the 29ers throughout the regatta Sam PHILLIPS of Ballina and crew Alain SIGN of England won both of today's races by sticking with the shifts, finishing third overall an impressive feat for their first time sailing together and Phillips's first time in a 29er. Will CRITHARIS and Ryan JENNINGS of Woollahra Sailing Club have proved they are strong sailors in the moderate conditions of the regatta emerging as division winners.

It was an exciting day in the Laser Radials where the fleet has been very close and consistent sailing has paid off for Jye MURRAY of Gosford Sailing Club winning the boys fleet by four points. In the girls division Samantha ENGLAND from Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron has won the series by 13 points.

Sailboarders Alisha KAWALLA, the sole girl competitor, and Jamie WOOD were challenging each other at the front of the fleet today, taking one first place each. The boys division title was already decided however, as Corey PLANT claimed first place prior to leaving for Sail Melbourne yesterday.

Hobie 16 sailors, Tom SPITHILL and James KIDNER of Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club had a positive end to the regatta with two 1sts today after receiving some tuning advice last night. Evan WALKER and Kyle LANGFORD of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia have emerged from the very competitive fleet as overall winners after a conscientious determined campaign that saw them working with Olympian Darren BUNDOCK on improving their settings and speed downwind.

Yachting Australia Coach Craig FERRIS praised all competitors on their skilled performances in such close competitive racing which has been entertaining and impressive to watch over the last four days. Ferris has been conducting debriefs for competitors throughout the regatta helping them to improve on each day's racing.

The 2005 Australian Youth Championship is the pinnacle event in the Australian Youth calendar, with the results serving as part of the selection process for the Youth Team to represent Australia at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships in July. The official 2005 Australian Youth Team will be announced after 11 January.

Sarah Robson (As Amended by ISAF), Image: © Simone Green
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