In the months that have passed since the untimely death of Warren Jones, his family, friends and colleagues have sought to commemorate his life through a suitable memorial.
Although Warren is remembered by most for his outstanding work in the community through his involvement in activities like Project Employ Youth, the Oz Concert and the Fremantle Hospital, its usually sailing and the America's Cup which bring his name to mind. With this aspect of his life in focus it seemed obvious that a sailing event would be the most appropriate way for his name to live on.
In June 2002, Australia II crewman and WA Yachting Foundation Executive Officer Skip Lissiman was discussing the idea of a memorial regatta with a colleague.
By the end of the discussion the seed funding was in place and rough event format was on paper.
With a lot more work by many friends and associates of Warren Jones' a new and prestigious match-racing regatta was instigated to provide a rare opportunity for young yachtsmen and women to make a start on the international match racing circuit.
Under the Chairmanship of Colin Mullins a new organisation - the "Warren Jones Memorial Youth Regatta (Inc.)" was formed as the funding vehicle for the event. Within this group a dedicated group have sought financial support from Warren's friends and colleagues in the Perth and Australian business community. The very positive response to this appeal meant the funding for this inaugural event was well underway.
The Western Australian Yachting Foundation meantime was busy, under the direction of Regatta chairman, Phil Mostyn and later Executive Officer, Skip Lissiman planning the event details and managing the event.
All competitors started the regatta with a two-day match-racing seminar conducted by two Americas Cup veterans, Lissiman who was recently coach of the Swedish "Victory Challenge" Americas Cup campaign and Sebastien Destremau, tactician on the French team " Le Defi". International Umpire and Past Commodore Mostyn conducted the informative rules session.
The seminar was set up to build the competitors match-racing skill base which judging by the on-water sailing was very successful as the standard of the on-water competition was very high.
"This is the first match racing event I have been to that starts with a seminar - which we think is fantastic learning tool!"
commented regatta winner Michael Dunstan.
After the first round robin Michael Dunstan from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron was undefeated, then lost two races in the second round robin to drop him to 2nd place overall after 2 round robins.
Local skipper Jackson Digney, from Royal Perth Yacht Club, used all his local knowledge to come out on top overall after the two round robins, giving him the choice of semi finalist.
The semi-finals, best of three races, was raced on the final day with Jackson Digney choosing to race against Keith Swinton from South of Perth Yacht Club leaving Michael Dunstan to race against Torvar Mirsky from Fremantle Sailing Club.
After both winning their semi-final heats the final show down between Digney and Dunstan took place on Friday afternoon in front of a spectator fleet packed with Warren Jones' family and many of the supporters of the event.
Dunstan, from Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron lived up to his pre-event status as favourite, to win the inaugural Warren Jones Memorial Youth Regatta defeating Royal Perth Yacht Club champion 3-0 in the final sail today in prefect conditions on Matilda Bay.
Even though the results indicate a far from close event Digney pushed all the way losing the final heat by less than one meter.
Dunstan the event winner wins an automatic entry to a prestigious Berlin Match racing event in October 2003 with $5000 Qantas airfares and $2000 of travel expenses.
Terrie Plattel, Warren Jones eldest daughter, confirmed after watching the event:
"Dad would have been pleased to have such a prestigious annual event named after him."
"Our family is delighted that so many people rallied to make this regatta possible. We know that it is going to build into a eagerly awaited national competition and will give so many future champions the opportunity to participate in international regatta."