West Australian sailor David Gilmour this week will attempt to become only the third helmsman to win the Hardy Cup Under 25 ISAF Grade 3 Match Racing Regatta on Sydney Harbour on more than one occasion.
Jay Griffin (Boat 3) and David Gilmour (boat 5) battle it out in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge - 2012 Hardy Cup
Gilmour is in winning form, having taken out the Warren Jones International Youth Match Racing Regatta on Perth’s Swan River last week in a convincing victory over fellow Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club member and Laser Radial world champion Tristan Brown.
Brown is not competing in the Hardy Cup, but Warren Jones Regatta third placegetter, New Zealander Chris Steele, will be along with David Gilmour’s brother, Sam, and Sydney sailor Jay Griffin.
The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron is again hosting the prestigious Hardy Cup, a trophy donated by the eminent Australian yachtsman Sir James Hardy, an America’s Cup, Admiral’s Cup, Olympic and World champion sailor and prominent Squadron member.
Sir James’ objective was to promote match racing and tactical skills among young sailors, something the Hardy Cup has certainly achieved with many past winners and competitors reaching high international status.
The Hardy Cup Regatta opens today with crew briefings and practice sailing on the Harbour, with match racing between the nine teams starting on Monday and continuing through round-robins to the finals on Thursday.
David Gilmour won the Hardy Cup last year in a hard-fought final with New Zealander Josh Junior, third place going to Jay Griffin, representing the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.
Only Evan Walker (CYCA) with wins in 2008 and 2010 and Michael Dunstan (RSYS) with three victories, 2002, 2005 and 2006, have won the Hardy Cup more than once among an impressive list of past winners.
Josh Porebski closing up on Evan Walker - 2012 Hardy Cup
Gilmour’s impressive record over the past year also includes a third in the Detriot Cup and a seventh overall after qualifying for the open world tour Monsoon Cup, in which his father, former America’s Cup helmsman Peter Gilmour, placed third.
His major opposition in the Hardy Cup is expected to come from New Zealand’s Chris Steele and Sydney sailors Jay Griffin, Ashlen Rooklyn and Jordan Reece.
Steele, representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, has had considerable success in match racing in the Elliott 6 sports boats that the Hardy Cup teams will sail this week.
CYCA Youth Academy member Jay Griffin finished third to Gilmour in last year’s Hardy Cup, subsequently placing second in the Australian match racing championship and the Musto International.
Rooklyn, also a CYCA Youth Academy sailor, is the current Australian youth and open match racing champion.
He recently returned after sailing in various events overseas, including a third in the Governor’s Cup in California and a second in the New Caledonia match-racing championship in Noumea.
Jordan Reece is the highest ISAF ranked sailor in the Hardy Cup, representing the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. He is currently ranked 16th in the world and before turning 21, he was the highest ranked U22 match racing sailor.
In Chicago last year, Jordan won the Detriot Cup, placed second in the Chicago Match Race Qualifier and second in the Alpari World Match Racing Tour event, in which he was the youngest skipper. Jordan is part of the Estate Master Sailing team.
Also representing the host club will be Nick Howe, who late last year finished fourth in the Harken International at the RPAYC and fourth in the NSW youth match racing championship.