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Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship preview
Musto © Olivia Price

Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship

From 22 November through 25 November, Sydney Harbour will once again come alive with high intensity match racing for the Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship, the first World Sailing Grade Two Youth Match Racing event in Sydney, hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

Twelve teams from four countries will battle for not only the ‘Joy Ride’ perpetual trophy, but also an invitation to Long Beach Yacht Club’s 2017 Ficker Cup Grade Two event. This highly competitive youth match racing regatta, which is now a well-established and internationally recognised event, will see half the competitors in this year’s event traveling from overseas, with teams from Chicago (USA) and The Netherlands taking part this year for the first time in the history of the regatta.

This year’s event has some significant changes to the regatta format, grading and prizes, which encouraged a massive total of 24 applications for entry submitted to the Youth Sailing Academy. Those applications were then cut down to just 12 of the world’s best youth match racing teams who then received invitations.

For the first time, The Netherlands will be represented with Team Dutch Wave led by Jelmer Van Beek (World Sailing ranked 82) from Groningen Yacht Club, a small town two hours north east of Amsterdam competing. Van Beek will travel out to Sydney with two crew members, Robin Jacobs and Rutger Vos and will pick up a local sailor from Sydney as their bowman.

Also competing in the event for the first time will be James Wagner (World Sailing ranked 315) from Chicago Yacht Club. James only started match racing early this year but has been training out of the highly regarded Chicago Match Racing Center in Chicago, IL whom partnered with Chicago Yacht Club for the 2016 season. James has his older brother Wade Wagner also on board and will travel with Gloria Kevliciute, Will Davies and Mark Davies for the event.

Wagner won’t be the only American competitor undertaking the 14+ hour flight across the pacific for this year’s event. Balboa Yacht Club, who hosts the Governor’s Cup, will also be sending a team to contest the title. BYC last competed in this event three years ago with Christophe Killian and his team finishing a very respectable second place. This time around, his younger brother, Porter Killian (World Sailing Ranked 316) will try to go one better and take home the title, which would be the first time for the United States of America.

Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship preview

Balboa Yacht Club at the 2013 Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship Andrea Francolini http://www.afrancolini.com/

There is no doubt that the strongest contenders for this year’s Musto International Youth Match Racing title will come from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, as world number 10, Harry Price leads the two-team charge from the host yacht club. Price’s long-time rival and world number 15 Will Dargaville (RPAYC), will be looking to try and go one better than last month’s Australian National title where Dargaville fell victim to Price, three – one in the finals. Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron will have Nick Rozenaurs on the helm and Tom Grimes (World Sailing ranked 180), who won an invitation from last month’s SHARP Australian Youth Match Racing Championship, will lead the second CYCA team.

The New Zealand teams will be ones to watch, with three teams from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland and Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington making the journey across the ditch. World number 32, George Anyon will represent RNZYS whilst RPNYC will have two entries with Will Eastman (World Sailing ranked 154) and Oakley Marsh (World Sailing ranked 192).

The two remaining entries are traveling from interstate with Queensland Match Racing Champion, James Hodgson (World Sailing ranked 147) from SCSC and Western Australia’s World number 46, Will Boulden representing Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club.

“Musto Australia are proud to be the official partner of the Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship. We have been a long term partner to this event and have seen it grow from a small locally focused regatta into the world class event it is today. It is without doubt the preeminent Southern Hemisphere youth match racing event and we look forward to some great racing in November,” commented Sam Miles, Corporate Sales Manager for Musto Australasia.

The regatta will be sailed from Rushcutters Bay on Sydney Harbour in the CYCA’s fleet of Elliott 7s. The event will start on Tuesday 22 November at 1000hrs with a qualifying round robin series scheduled, before knockout stages start on Wednesday afternoon. Racing can be followed live via the CYCA website and Youth Sailing Academy Facebook page.

by Olivia Price

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