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6 October 2003, 12:14 pm
Lightning Strike and Windshift Ends Championship
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Australian Youth Match Racing Championship
Sydney Harbour

A major windshift, followed by a violent lightning strike on Sydney Harbour, put an end to the finals of the Club Championship yesterday, with the winner being decided on scores over two round-robins sailed on the previous two days.
The new Australian champions of the under 20 year old series, 17-year-old Seve JARVIN and his crew of Robert BELL and Sam NEWTON, from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Youth Sailing Academy, lost only one match out of 16 round robin matches.

They were leading 2-0 in the final when principal race officer Doug TALTY, with the agreement of chief umpire, New Zealander Tony WEBB, abandoned racing as the wind swung from north-east to south-west, heralded by a build-up of black storm clouds.

As crews and officials waited for the wind change to settle, a massive lightning bolt hit the water in the middle of the fleet…."I could feel my hair frizzle and smell smoke," said CYCA Youth Sailing Academy manager Jenni BONNITCHA.

"We wisely elected to abandon racing for the day as torrential rain swept down the Harbour, with more thunder and lightning."

The end result of the Championship, conducted by the CYCA on behalf of Yachting Australia, saw Jarvin and his crew win from another NSW team, Stuart POLLARD, Mark DORLING and Ian QUARTLY from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

In the petit final to decide second and third overall, Andrew JOYCE, Diego GOMEZ-HALL and James CHRISTIAN, also from the CYCA, were racing Tom SPITHILL, James KIDNER and Hamish ROUGHLY when racing was abandoned. Based on round-robin results, third overall then went to Spithill, Kidner and Roughly from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club.

Jarvin, the son of Olympic, America's Cup and World Champion sailor Steve JARVIN, and his crew have had an outstanding season, winning the Governor's Cup in California, the Harken NSW Youth Match Racing Championship and now the Club Marine Australian Youth Match Racing Championship.

"Our aim throughout was to sail fast and use smart match racing tactics," said the young champion who has moved into sailing the Elliott 6 sports boats after sailing in Sabots, Flying 11s and 29ers.

Commented Jenni BONNITCHA: "They are a wonderful combination - Steve is an outstanding helmsman and tactician, Robert never takes his eyes off the mainsail, trimming constantly, and Sam is an Australian champion crew in 29ers, one of the best young for'ard hands in Australia."

In addition to the semi-finals and aborted finals, the CYCA also conducted a final round-robin series for the other five teams, to decide placings 5 to 9. This was won by Jeremy WILMOT from Evan WALKER, both from the CYCA, and David CHEW from RQYS.

This Queensland team of David CHEW, Scott TRENOWETH and Scott WEBSTER staged a remarkable recovery after bowman Webster slipped overboard in their last match. Chew immediately spun the boat about, recovered the crew and went on to win the match, lifting the Queenslanders from ninth to seventh in overall standings.

CYCA director and newly appointed chairman of the CYCA Youth Sailing Academy, Matt ALLEN, joined Club Marine's Simon Cook in presenting trophies at the CYCA - as a late afternoon sun lit up a Harbour that had been storm bound only an hour earlier.

Full results are available on the event website at the address below.
Event Media (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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