Australian Match Racing Champs - Evan Walker and team victorious

Tight crew work helped Walker get over the line.
At the Australian Match Racing Championship, Evan Walker and his team of John Flannery, Hamish Hardy and Jaidan Stevens representing the host club, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, have won defeating Sam Gilmour 2-1 in the grand final.

Evan Walker and team win the Australian Match Racing Championship.

'Awesome result – We certainly worked for it,' Evan Walker said. 'In any point of the six races in the semis and finals we could have won or lost it. We won the right races when it counted.' The grand final was a tense three flight battle with Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson pushing hard to finish the progam.

'The last race was a bit of a lottery. The breeze shut down as we entered the start – we saw pressure up on the Harbour and raced toward the pressure and got it – all two knots of it, which pushed us in front of Sam.

'There was a little southerly puff at the bottom mark which we also took advantage of and came away with the win. We never gave up and took our chances when we had them. Sam sailed really well - he was a tough opponent.'

The lucky charm onboard Walker’s boat today were the cupcakes his girlfriend Nicky had made for the crew which boosted morale.

Earlier in the day, Walker had beaten Ashlen Rooklyn (Darwin Sailing Club) 2-1 in the minor semi-final earlier in the day to make his way into the grand-final.

Sam Gilmour and his team of Jack Breislin, Adam Negri and Chris Smith, representing the University of Western Australia, finished second after finishing on top of leader board at the completion of Round Robin Two

Gilmour battled with Andrea Green (CYCA) in the semi needing all three matches to overcome his opponent and make his way through to the grand final.

'We had really good pressure in the semis – 12-14 knots of north east to easterly breeze. Andrea was a lot quicker than us – we managed to beat him by a slim margin in the first match, then he took the second and in the third, Andy was OCS but had made up the ground by the top mark,' Gilmour said

'He was right on our tail and we managed to give him a penalty and put some distance on him downwind and come away with the win.

'Evan got the first win in the grand final. We sailed a really great second match getting good boat speed and we were confident going into the start of the third (and what would be the final) match.

Gilmour looking for that elusive puff of breeze.

'The wind died and we were drifting into the start. Evan managed to get one little gust and sailed away from us. We tried to catch him but we just couldn’t – he seemed to see the little puffs of breeze and take advantage of them better than we did,' Gilmour added.

'Thanks to my crew – they did a really great job keeping the boat sailing fast and kept me cool in such a heated situation. Thanks also to the University of Western Australia who helped support us during this regatta. I’m looking forward to the Youth Nationals which start on Thursday' Gilmour concluded.

Third place went to Ashlen Rooklyn and his team of Jeronimo Harrison, Sam Ellis and Chris Steele, representing Darwin Sailing Club with Andrea Green and his team of Jack Dawson, Byron White, Matt Stent and Rosie Lee representing the host club, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, finishing in fourth place.

Both boats broke one of the conditions of the Notice of Race during the second flight of the petit-final. An on-water hearing determined that the match was to be abandon. As both skippers had not scored at least two points, the result was determined by the last completed stage which was Round Robin Two and therefore Rooklyn was scored in third place.

Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson pushed through the program once again in fluctuating east to north easterly breeze that stayed in for most of the day until it swung south east late in the afternoon.

Rayshele Martin (front) and her team win the Australian Women’s Match Racing Championship.

Rayshele Martin and her crew of Kylie McKillop, Mariet Sterk, Tina Babbage and Kathleen Stroinovsky representing Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club won the Women’s Match Racing Championship defeating overnight leader Milly Bennett from Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, two matches to one.


Rayshele Martin and crew hiking hard. Credit Brett Hemmings, www.sailpix.com.au

The substitution of Lucinda Whitty into Martin’s crew (for Kathleen Stroinovsky) proved to be the turning point in Martin’s regatta 'Her experience was invaluable,' Martin said. Whitty was part of the silver medal winning match racing team at the London Olympics.

'It was really close racing throughout the regatta but early on we weren’t winning matches. Today we focussed on sailing our own race each time and we got the results when it mattered. Our team came together at the beginning of this regatta and have spent the last three days gelling as a team,' Martin added.

'In the last race of the finals, it was a pretty even start against Milly. She was ahead at the top mark but we got a good spinnaker run down to the bottom mark. We spilt and worked our way back up the course and were able to round the top mark ahead of her and then held our lead till the finish.'

'It was definitely a mixed bag of results for us,' Milly Bennett said this afternoon. It was like a box of chocolates you never knew what you were going to get – wind conditions, shifts and advantages.'

'Our performance improved throughout the regatta and our crew work got stronger. We worked out where we were making the mistakes and know where we need to improve going into the Youths,' Bennett added.

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 and contested on the new fleet of ten Elliott sevens.

Australian Match Racing Championship Results:
1st: Evan Walker (CYCA)
2nd: Sam Gilmour (University of Western Australia)
3rd: Ashlen Rooklyn (Darwin Sailing Club)
4th: Andrea Green (CYCA)
5th: Hugh Tait (NSC)
6th: Malcolm Parker (RPAYC)
7th: Matt Jerwood (South of Perth Yacht Club)
8th: Amanda Scrivenor (CYCA)
9th Murray Jones (CYCA)
10th: Milly Bennett (RPAYC)
11th: Rayshele Martin (RFBYC)
12th: Tara McCall (CYCA)

Australian Women’s Match Racing Championship Results:
1st Rayshele Martin (RFBYC)
2nd Milly Bennett (RPAYC)
3rd Amanda Scrivenor (CYCA)
4th Tara McCall (CYCA)
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