Event organisers at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club are currently sifting through the applications for the 2003 HARKEN International Youth Match Racing Championship and will announce details of the 12 competing teams during next week.
"The HARKEN" as it is now known in youth sailing circles worldwide stands out as one of the premier events for youth on the International match racing calendar and has during its 12 year history served as a launch pad for a number of yachting stars including the Alfred's own James SPITHILL, a veteran of two America's Cups at just 24 years old and runner up in the recent World Championship of match racing. Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron's Michael DUNSTAN is also a dual Harken winner and this year moved on to the international circuit where he has already established himself as a force.
This years event, the 12 running and 7 consecutively with sponsors Harken, has been scheduled for 3-7 Dec, a time slot fine tuned this year by organisers based on feedback from local and international Clubs to avoid the college and University examination period whilst also conveniently filing a void in the Sydney sporting media calendar. Twelve teams of three crew will compete in matched Elliott 5.9m yachts.
Potential competitors have the added attraction of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's youth event, the "Accord Logistics International Youth Match Racing Regatta", in the week immediately preceding the Harken. Back to back events are a real bonus for the young international visitors giving them good value for their travel dollar not to mention the couple of days in between to try Sydney's famous beaches.
Australia last week took a well-deserved trip down memory lane to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Australia II's historic win in the America's Cup. Most of this years Harken competitors were not even born back then and would find it hard to imagine that our greatest sporting moment ever involved match racing, though I bet the "old salts" could describe that final beat tack by tack!
Full details of the event and prospective competitors are available on the RPAYC website at the address below.