by Craig Heydon
The Youth Sailing Grand Prix heads north for the first time this weekend for the 2011 OAMPS Insurance Brokers Queensland Youth Week with racing taking place at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron between July 2 and 5.
2010 OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Sailing Team
For the first time ever Yachting Australia will be awarding prize money for a youth event, up to $3,000 per winning crew, dependent on the class. This is designed to assist with the costs incurred campaigning with the winners required to use the funds to compete at further events.
The 2011 OAMPS Insurance Brokers Queensland Youth Week is set to be the largest youth regatta ever seen in Australia with 232 crews competing.
The regatta will feature five classes that are a part of the Youth Sailing Grand Prix with sailors competing in the Laser 4.7, Laser Radial, 29er, 420 and Bic Techno all eligible for points in the Grand Prix.
After the opening five rounds of racing Benjamin Walkemeyer leads the way in the Laser 4.7 boys with a 21 point lead over second, third placed Nicholas Connor is a further 25 points back and will be racing in Queensland.
In the Laser 4.7 girls class Victorian sailor Melissa Hitchen-Haw has a two point lead over second with Madison Kennedy eight points further back in third and racing against Hitchen-Haw this week.
With the Laser Radial boys class leader, Matthew Wearn, representing Australia at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship this week, Queenslander Mitchell Kennedy has a great opportunity to take the class lead as he’s only four points behind, while in the girls class Ella Evans can jump up from third with the leading two crews also in Europe.
The 21 boat 29er fleet is set to be highly competitive at Queensland Youth Week and in terms of the Youth Sailing Grand Prix the third place crew of Oliver Kalpokas and Mitchell Citadini, are the highest ranked team competing.
The 420 class will provide a number of new crews the opportunity to get on the Youth Sailing Grand Prix scoreboard.
Sydney sailor Sam Treharne will be racing in the Bic Techno boys class in Queensland and heads into the regatta second overall, just three points behind Eamon Robertshaw who is competing in Europe at the moment.
In the Bic Techno girls class Lara O’Brien is the leading Youth Sailing Grand Prix competitor racing, with Queenslander second overall.
The Youth Sailing Grand Prix has been designed to build a strong national competition that encourages youth participation, providing young sailors with the chance to race at a number of regattas around the country against strong opposition.
For more information on the Youth Series Grand Prix visit www.facebook.com/YouthSailingGP or follow the series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/YouthSailingGP. The policy document and updated point score for the series can be found on the Yachting Australia website, Yachting Australia.