by Cora Zillich
The Australian Youth Championship, after five days of racing on the Mornington Peninsula, VIC, came to a close on Friday with the 2014 national champions crowned and positions on the 2014 Australian Sailing Youth Team secured. The 2014 Australian Sailing Youth Team will represent Australia at this year’s ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship (Under 19) to be held in Tavira, Portugal from 12-19 July 2014.
AnnaPhilips 500 MalonePhotography - 2014 Australian Youth Championship
The final day of racing saw the193 crews in the six championship classes get a few more races in after a weak breeze on yesterday’s penultimate day had cancelled racing in most categories. Today lifted the total number of races in all classes to ten.
First finishers on the final day were the windsurfers in the Techno 293 class, which saw Tasmanian sailor Jock Calvert taking out the Australian Youth Championship and with this securing his spot on the 2014 Australian Sailing Youth Team. Tasmanian Sailor Morgan Davies finished in second, while Queenslander Lara O’Brien came third.
With this result O’Brien won the female category of this class, securing her a spot on her first Australian Sailing Youth Team, which she was very excited about: 'I had a pretty good week, I was lucky to have few light days and managed to stay consistent securing this result. I’ve been trying for four years to get on the Youth Sailing team so it’s great to finally get in this year.'
Jock Calvert was equally excited and said about his week’s performance: 'The week started out really well with three bullets, then on the second day I started to break some gear, which was a bit of a hick-up, but I managed a couple more wins after that. Mostly, I’m excited to go to the Youth World Champs again. I went there last year for the first time and I’ve learnt a lot in the year since then, so I really want to go back and try and see how much I’ve improved.'
JockCalvert MalonePhotography - 2014 Australian Youth Championship
For Jock Calvert it will be the second World Championship and together with 420 sailor Lachlan Gilmour (WA) he will be one of two sailors on the young and new-look 2014 Australian Sailing Youth Team, who have competed in a World Youth Championship before.
'It’s cool to be part of the more experienced group. Last year there were only two people who had not been to a Youth Worlds so this year it’s the opposite and I’m sure it will be fun and we’ll all learn a lot. My big hero is the Dutch Olympic Champion van Rijsselberghe and I aspire to be as good as him. Tokyo 2020 is definitely my goal', Calvert added when asked about his long-term goals.
The 420 class was dominated by strong performances of the female crews and New South Wales crew of Dana Tavener and Catherine Pagett not only took out the Australian Girls Championship title but also the overall win in this class. Based on combined results and after the duo were several places ahead of Tavener-Pagett at the 420 Nationals in Sorrento a couple of weeks ago, it was second placed Western Australian crew of Nia Jerwood and Lisa Smith, who will represent Australia in this class in Portugal.
In the male category, the upset of the day was of the New Zealanders Sam Barnett and Zak Merton beating Western Australians Emerson Carlberg and Lachlan Gilmour to the top spot. The duo had led the New Zealanders all week, but were disqualified in Friday’s second race after crossing the start line too soon. As the top Australian 420 male crew, Carlberg and Gilmour still managed to secure their spot on the Australian Sailing Youth Team.
Fifteen-year-old Emerson Gilbert was very happy about this opportunity of his first World Youth Championship: 'Following our class nationals, the week here started off pretty well and our consistent results helped us out to secure our final ranking when we had three to four bad races, with two of them today, which were discards. But we were able to pull it back in the last race. I’m very excited and happy we will be going to the Youth World’s as I have been looking to go for a while and it’s fantastic to get the opportunity to go this year.'
Having been part of the Australian Sailing Youth Sailing Team last year, seventeen-year-old Lachlan Gilmour will be one of the veterans on the team: 'We knew it would be a good challenge coming over here and race the Queenslanders and Victorians. We were quite happy where we finished and it will be great to go to the Youth World’s. There’s a lot of work to be done before then, in the gym and we are also planning to do an invitational practice regatta in Japan as well as the National Training Camp.'
The Hobie 16 multihull fleet saw also strong female crews at the top of the ranks with Victorians Michelle Bursa and Chelsea Haynes taking out the overall win and securing their spot in the Australian Sailing Youth Team.
In the Laser Radial Class, the top three spots were filled by Western Australian sailors Conor Nicholas, Christopher Charlwood and Alistair Young. His first place youth result at Laser Nationals in McCrae earlier this month secured youngster Alistair Young the spot on the National Youth Sailing team. At only 16 years of age, it will be Alistair’s first World Championship.
Victorian Anna Philip scored another two race wins on the final day, which put her in eighth position overall as well as best female and thus Australian Champion and Australian Sailing Youth Team member in the Laser Radial Fleet.
'I didn’t have the best start of the week but towards the end I was pretty happy, especially with my last two race wins. I’m very excited to have made it into the Youth Sailing Team and I’m really looking forward to being a part of the 2014 Team. For now, I’m just looking forward to getting back into training, working hard, staying focused and hopefully performing really well to make the most of the opportunity and experience at the World’s in July', said Anna Philip after the last set of races.
29er sailors Jim Colley (NSW) and Shaun Connor had an excellent regatta run securing them Australian Championtitle in this class ahead of Kurt Hansen and Harry Morton (NSW) with Max Giudice and Hayden Hunt (WA) in third.
In the Laser 4.7 fleet, which is not part of the Youth Sailing World Championship, Northern Territory Sailor Hamish Wiltshire took out the Championship title ahead of Victorian Jack Graves and Tyrone Gowans in third (VIC).
The Australian Sailing Youth Team will be endorsed by the Yachting Australia Board at the beginning of February and will prepare at their individual home locations as well as in a joint training campat Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Brisbane just prior to Sail Brisbane in April. The Laser Radial and 420 boys and girls will be the guests of the Japan Sailing Federation in the annual Australia-Japan Youth Sailing Exchange in March. This will be the third year of this exchange and is highly valued by both countries.
The 2014 Australian Youth Championship was held at Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron and Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club on the Mornington Peninsula, VIC from January 6 – 10 2014. Host club for the 2015 Australian youth Championship will be Fremantle Yacht Club in Western Australia from 6-10 January 2015.
Event website: click here