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13 January 2003, 05:04 pm
Champions Crowned
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Krystal Weir, Laser Radial Winner ©Erin Cameron

Australian Youth Championship

The 2003 Australian Youth Champions were announced on Friday night, following a highly competitive regatta, which brought together the cream of Australia's youth sailors to compete in this prestigious event.
The final day of racing in the Australian Youth Championship was conducted in perfect conditions, with a light sea-breeze coming in early and building to about 12 knots for most of the day. Three races were conducted, with the first starting shortly after 10am. The Race Committee aimed to finish the racing early, holding two short races in the morning and extending the course for a longer race in the afternoon.

The 29ers found it a struggle to sail downwind in the light airs, with female crew of Jacqui Bonnitcha and Sarah Clark revelling in the light conditions and using their weight advantage to beat the boys in all three races.

The 420 fleets were again dominated by last year's ISAF Youth Worlds representatives, Elise Rechichi and Rayshele Martin making a clean sweep in the girls fleet, with Nathan Outteridge and Ayden Menzies winning all races in the boys fleet.

Richard Ironmonger, previously leading the Laser Boys fleet sailed his two drops in the morning races, but came through at the end to claim another first place to remain at the top of the scoreboard. Simon Morgan and Ian Quartly also sailed well in the Laser fleet, each winning a heat today.

Krystal Weir dominated the Laser Radial fleet, with Samantha Chidgey close astern, and Claire Hunting hot on their heels. Krystal also represented Australia at the previous ISAF Youth World Championship.

The Overall regatta winners were presented their trophies during a three course meal at the Adelaide Sailing Club, with AYF Board Member Wally Rantanen, Australian Major Events' Event Development Manager John McDonald, and Adelaide Sailing Club Commodore Hubert Tucker presenting the trophies to the various divisions.

The 29ers were awarded trophies for the first Male, first Female and first Mixed crews, with a perpetual trophy for the overall winner. First Male and Overall was awarded to Tom Clout and Sam Newton from NSW, with Jacqui Bonnitcha and Sarah Clark taking out first Female crew, and Emily Hookings and Peter Dunk being awarded for being the first placed Mixed crew.

NSW Sailboarder Cory Plant was awarded for his efforts of sailing the regatta, taking the trophy for the Sailboard Boys division.

Single Handed Boys was awarded to Richard Ironmonger from Victoria, with Tim Castles and Simon Morgan placing second and third respectively. The Single Handed Girls trophy was awarded to Krystal Weir from Victoria for the second year in a row, with Samantha Boyd presented with second place, and Sarnia Upham third.

The Double Handed Boys was again won by Nathan Outteridge and Ayden Menzies from NSW, followed by Tom England and Jon Newman second, with Tom Barker and Andrew Patrick third. The Girls division was awarded to Elise Rechichi and Rayshele Martin from WA, second place going to Anna Patterson and Emma Poulsen.

With this event being one of the nomination regattas for selecting the team to represent Australia at the 2003 ISAF Youth World Championship, most of last year's contenders appear to be in pole position to represent Australia for a second time.

During the selection process, each classes' National Championships are also taken into account. The Laser Nationals held last week will be one of the deciding factors in selecting the representatives for the Boys and Girls Single Handed event.

The 420 Nationals being held next week will help determine who will sail in the Boys and Girls Double Handed event, whilst the Mistral Nationals at the end of the month will be the deciding factor for the Boys Sailboard class - in which there was only one entry to this regatta.
Erin Cameron/ISAF News Editor
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