Australian Open Match Racing Champs - Rooklyn and Walker set to battle

Australian Open Match Racing Championship
Brett Hemmings,
The Australian Open Match Racing Championship, hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia from 20-24 September, is to be contested on the new fleet of ten Elliott sevens. Ashlen Rooklyn and his team of Jeronimo Harrison, Sam Ellis and Chris Steele head the line-up.

Rooklyn is the highest ranked skipper of the event and has spent the last three months overseas competing in a number of match racing regattas. Last month, he won through to the semi-final round of the Nations Cup; however the rules precluded him from sailing in the semi-finals. (All nations can only have one team qualify for the semi-final stage at the Nations Cup).

Rooklyn will be sailing for the Darwin Sailing Club and has included in-form Kiwi match racer Chris Steele in his crew. Steele was the runner up to Western Australian Sam Gilmour at the recent Governor’s Cup hosted by Balboa Yacht Club in July.

Sam Gilmour is the second highest ranked skipper in the event and will represent the University of Western Australia. His crew includes Jack Breislin, whose knowledge of the Elliott sevens and Rushcutters Bay sailing conditions will provide the team with an advantage; as well as Adam Negri and Chris Smith.

Murray Jones is the third highest ranked skipper in this event. Credit Brett Hemmings,
Brett Hemmings,

Evan Walker, Murray Jones and Andrea Green will all represent the host club. Walker and his crew of Jaidan Stevens, John Flannery and Hamish Hardy, are fresh from their win in the Queensland Open Match Racing Championship two weeks ago. Walker defeated Murray Jones in the final when both used all of the well-practiced manoeuvres in their match racing arsenal.

Walker has a string of match racing titles to his name that includes the Australian Match Racing Championship (2010), the Hardy Cup in 2008 and 2010, and the Warren Jones Youth International Regatta in 2011.

Murray Jones won his spot in this championship after winning the Club Marine NSW Youth Match Racing Championship last month, however Jones will be sailing with a different crew that includes Henry Kernot, Harry Price and Josh Marks.

Other teams include Malcolm Parker (Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club), Hugh Tait (BoaTEC Australia and Northbridge Sailing Club) and Matt Jerwood (South of Perth Yacht Club)

Milly Bennett from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club is the top ranked female skipper contesting the Australian Women’s Match Racing Championship that will run concurrently with the Open Championship.

Bennett finished second to Murray Jones in August in the Club Marine NSW Youth Match Racing Championship.

Jones is the third highest ranked skipper in this event.

Some close racing is anticipated during the Australian Open and Women s Match Racing Championships. Credit Brett Hemmings,
Brett Hemmings,

Tara McCall and Amanda Scrivenor will represent the CYCA with Rayshele Martin sailing for Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club.

All teams will be allocated practice time on the Elliott sevens on Friday 20 September before competition gets underway on Saturday. The official welcome ceremony will be conducted on Friday evening 20 September as well as the Youth Sailing Academy’s 20th Anniversary Celebration party.

Racing is scheduled to commence at 1015hrs on Saturday 21 September and continue until Tuesday 24 September. Crews will compete on the CYCA’s Youth Academy new fleet of Elliott seven m boats, with race management under the direction of Race Officer Denis Thompson with Colette Kraus the Chief Umpire.

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a mostly sunny day on Saturday with south westerly winds of 10-15 knots becoming variable about 10 knots during the morning. Racing will be conducted in the vicinity of Rushcutters Bay and live results from each match will be posted on the CYCA website via Event Website

The Australian Youth Match Racing Championship will follow on from the Australian Open and Australian Women’s Match Racing Championships from 25-29 September and will also be hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.