Australian Team Racing Championship on Hobart’s River Derwent

Harcourts Australian Team Racing Championship.
Jennifer Medd.
The 2013 Harcourts Australian Team Racing Championship will have 24 teams from around Australia contesting at Hobart’s River Derwent hence making it one of the coldest sporting venues in the nation this week.

The winter chill has not diminished the enthusiasm of the 144 teenage sailors who will be sailing Yachting Tasmania’s one-design dinghies in this rather unique sailing completion.

Unlike fleet racing or match racing, which are contests between individual boats, team racing comprises a contest between three boats from one team (school) and three boats from another school sailed over a short, but demanding course.

Sandy Bay Sailing Bay Sailing Club, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and Yachting Tasmania have joined forces to conduct the Yachting Australia-listed regatta from Wednesday, July 10 through to Saturday, July 13.

The four Hobart school teams, St Virgils/Guildford Young Grove, Friends, Hutchins and Fahan have been training several days a week, come rain, hail or snow for the past few weeks.

While the locals may be acclimatised, the Queenslanders came to Hobart a few days earlier to check the chill.

The Hobart schools have an incentive to regain the status of Tasmanian schools in the championship which has been dominated by South Australian and West Australian schools since 2010 when the St Virgils/GYC team finished runners-up to the West Australia’s Christ Church College.

The West Australian and South Australian schools are again expected to be the stongest opposition among the fleet representing schools in Victoria, the ACT, New South Wales and Queensland.

St Virgils/GYC has a strong team for the championship, captained by champion young sailor Johnny Cooper with B Nicholson as crew. The other crews in the St VIrgils/GYC team are Tommy Cooper and Jack Kennedy and Angus Price and Josh Eggins.

Heading the fast Fahan team is former Australian champion in the International Cadet class, Sam Bailey with Kate Vosper as crew. The other teams Ella Conner and Tash Keep and Maddy Salter and Meg Goodfellow.

Hutchins’ three teams will be Olly Burnell and Sam King, Charlie Connor and Toby Burnell and Will Connor and Angus Calvert.

Friends have two teams, with Silas Hamilton and Hannah Maree Ed Hargreaves and Hugo Hamillton and Morgan Davies and Jasmin Gailbraith in one team. The second will comprise Lachlan Hargreaves and Max Cottier, Jem Thain and Will Wallis,and Findlay Scrip and Fraser Marshall.

Their major opposition from mainland schools are expected to Christ Church Grammar (WA), St Michaels College (SA) and St Josephs College (SA) while other teams are here from New South Wales, the ACT and Queensland.

The event has attracted the personal interest of 1983 America’s Cup winning skipper John Bertrand, and he and his wife will fly to Hobart on Saturday to watch the finals and present the John and Rasa Bertrand Trophy.