Michael Dunstan, one of Australia's most promising young sailors, today added the prestigious Hardy Cup ISAF Grade 3 international under 25 match racing title to his long list of match racing successes.
Victory came for the 20-year-old engineering student, representing the host club, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, at the end of 10 days of intensive sailing across the nation.
Last week he sailed 21 match races helming Foundation 36s in Perth where he won the 2002 Australian open match racing championship, at the weekend he sailed three races as helmsman/tactician aboard the ocean racer Ragamuffin in the JPMorgan Regatta, and this week he has sailed a further 21 match races in Elliot 6 sports boats to win the Hardy Cup.
The RSYS last year revitalised the Hardy Cup, originally donated by America 's Cup, Olympic and World Champion yachtsman Sir Hardy for Australian competition between class champions, as an international match racing for sailors under 25 years, gaining ISAF recognition as a grade 3 event.
This year the Hardy Cup attracted elite young sailors from Great Britain, Germany, New Zealand, Italy, Japan and United States of America and from four Australian yacht clubs.
Dunstan and his crew, Hamish Stone and James Rodger, came from behind in the best-of-five race final to beat Team Mintin from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, comprising Simon Minoprio (helmsman), Mathew Stuart and Troy Tindill, 3-1 in a hard-fought series.
A decisive move was a hard luff at the first leeward mark in the final match, which saw the RSYS team consolidate their lead as protests flag flew.
"It was a hard-fought series, with the final today sailed in very shifty westerly winds,' Dunstan said after today's final.
"We gave match racing tactics a miss to concentrate on picking the shifts as the breeze changes p to 90 degrees in direction and up and down in strength.
"At the same time, they (the New Zealanders) were throwing everything at us to force us into errors and/or a penalty,"
added Dunstan who finished runner-up in the
Hardy Cup last year.
Earlier, in the quarter finals, the RSYS team had beaten Sandringham Yacht Club from Melbourne 2-0 while Team Mintin beat the Great Britain Challenge team, also 2-0.
In the petite final to decide third place in the series, the Great Britain Challenge team beat Sandringham Yacht Club 2-0.
"I've got a day off tomorrow, then it's back to sailing aboard Ragamuffin on Saturday, and Monday I'm off to work experience on engineering and testing at Qantas before the eight race British Trophy the following week and then, of course, my first long ocean race in the Rolex Sydney Hobart on Boxing Day," Dunstan added.
||Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
||Team Mintin, New Zealand
||Sandringham Yacht Club
||Cruising Yacht Club of Aus.
||Circolo della Vela Erix, Lerici
||University of Hawaii
||Team Bambino, Japan
||Norddeutscher Regatta Verein
||Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club
||Waiheke Boating Club