Some of the attractions of this event, the pristine climate, superb race management and excellent sailing conditions, have combined to attract some of the Worlds best Youth Match Racers to compete here at the highest level.
The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club has been inundated with teams applying for an invitation to this ISAF Grade 3 event. With 10 from Australia and five from New Zealand it shows that this style of racing is more than appealing to the youth of Australia and New Zealand.
The core of the Olympic race management team including ISAF International Race Officer Denis Thompson (AUS) and Club Yachting Administrator conducted the Soling Match Racing at the 2000 Olympics will once again come together to run the on-water organization of the event.
"We have assembled a very experienced umpire team with International umpires flying in from Perth, New Zealand and Europe especially for this years event. With the worlds best youth match racing teams at this years Harken International, it promises to be an absolute thriller. I'm sure we will see some very aggressive and technical match racing that will keep the umpires very busy,"
said Chief Umpire David Tallis.
The final selection will consist of 12 teams of three in each crew.
Teams from Fukuoka Yacht Club in Japan, Mission Bay Yacht Club and Balboa Yacht Club both based on the West coast of America, Royal Yachting Association in the UK, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club from New Zealand, South of Perth Yacht Club, Royal Queensland Yacht Club, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and two teams from Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club will contest this international event. As you can see the regatta has become a major event on the international yachting calendar and is a vital part to Australia's yachting future.
The Harken International is a match race regatta, and comparable to the America's Cup, the sailors are racing head to head in direct competition. Unlike the America's Cup, The Harken International provides sailors with equalized boats, and as a result, it is more a test of sailing ability than design, materials, and development. The organising authority has changed the stage format this year. It will now consist of a round robin in stage one and a repechage similar to that of the Louis Vuitton currently being contested in New Zealand.
With two teams from the USA competing against each other the competition is going to be rife. The USA's current Youth Match Racing Champion and 8th in the USA's open match race rankings Peit van Os from Mission Beach Yacht Club looks forward to this being his third time competing in the Harken International. Peit and his crew have been training at least once a week with local sailors and friends and feels pretty good about where they are at. After being knocked out in the round robin stage of the Governor's Cup (his home town event) by three Australian teams, which will be competing at this event, Peit will be looking to turn things around for his team.
The Harken International will be Carson Reynolds first overseas trip to compete in an event of this statue. During the summer break Carson and his crew from Balboa Yacht Club in California practiced four times a week leading up the 2002 Governor's Cup. If they can stay in the top half of the fleet then Carsen will be thrilled with the team's performance.
Ross Sutton, coach of the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club's crew has recently implemented a Youth Scheme Program into the club. Ross is so impressed with the level of dedication and commitment that he has brought six of the 14 youths to compete in the Harken International and other Youth Match Racing events currently being held in Australia. The program is only 5 months in, and runs for one year so goes to show that the standard of youth sailors in New Zealand is something to watch out for.
Don't miss this opportunity to catch some of the world's most talented youth athletes contest this spectacular event on the Pittwater.