by Craig Heydon
Ahead of next week’s ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships the Australian Sailing Youth Team has arrived in Cyprus with three crews out to defend medals from 2012.
2013 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships - Mark Spearman after winning in Ireland last year
The Australian team features 12 sailors competing in eight classes with Mark Spearman the defending champion in the Laser Radial boys’ class, while Carrie Smith and Ella Clark won silver in the 420 girls’ in 2012, with Paul Darmanin and Lucy Copeland also finishing second in the multihull class.
Spearman showed that consistency pays, winning gold at his first ISAF Youth Worlds in Ireland last year with a best result of sixth from 12 races and is looking forward to the challenge of defending his title.
'Going into my second Youth Worlds I’m feeling really well prepared,' said Spearman. 'I’ve had a whole year of training with really good training partners and coaches which has all helped to set me up for this event. I just completed the Laser Radial Europeans in Croatia as a warm up event to try and get ready for big fleet sailing again and learned so much from the event.
'Overall I’m excited to see how much everyone has improved since last year and am looking forward to the general atmosphere of the Youth Worlds,' he said. 'There are so many sailors at the top level heading to the Youth Worlds this year that for people to be up the front they’ll need to sail their own race and not target anyone. If I sail really well and keep to my game plan there’s no reason why I can’t win the title again.'
Carrie Smith and Ella Clark will contest their third straight Youth Worlds in the 420 class this year, with the West Australian pair keen to add gold to the silver medal they won in 2012.
'I’m feeling confident with our preparation and our ability to take it a step forward to win gold this year,' said Clark. 'I’m still nervous as we’ve been doing so much training in all aspects for the past year for this competition to ensure we gain an edge on our competitors.
'After finishing with a fourth place in 2011 and taking home silver last year I’m only feeling more and more confident in our ability as a team to bring home gold this year,' she said. 'We’ve worked hard over the past years with our experience and competitive drive increasing despite any setbacks we’ve had. Carrie and I both share the same competitive streak and determination to win it this year.
Clark said that she’s enjoyed the experience of competing against the best youth sailors in the world, especially alongside good friend Smith.
'I’ve been so lucky to be a part of such an amazing team with Carrie and we worked hard to qualify for the Youth Worlds for the first time at the age of 15 in 2011,' said Clark. 'It was amazing to attend the event at such a young age with the ability to improve each time. The Youth Worlds is an incredible event that I’ve loved being a part of.'
Multihull skipper Paul Darmanin is no stranger to the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, with 2013 his fourth appearance at the event. Darmanin has won two medals so far, gold on debut in 2010 and silver last year with Lucy Copeland.
Racing in the multihull class at the Youth Worlds will take place on the Sirena SL16, with Darmanin and Copeland racing on one in France last week, their first time on the specific boat in a year.
'We’re feeling excited and well prepared for the Youth Worlds,' said Darmanin. 'Lucy and I have been training hard on a Viper F16, a high performance catamaran, that has allowed us to train on a boat similar to the SL16.'
'Even though we were successful last year in Ireland we have to take this event as it comes as the conditions and crews competing will be very different.' he said. 'We want to sail as well as we can and hopefully through that we can achieve a top result. I think it’s great that it’s our second Youth Worlds together as we know what to expect and we know how good it feels to win a medal.
'It will make us both hungry to go one better this year so we can get the same awesome satisfaction,' said Darmanin. 'For myself it’s my fourth and last Youth Worlds and I’d like to round it out the same way it started in Turkey in 2010, fingers crossed.'
Sydney windsurfer Annalise Gilbert will contest her third straight Youth Worlds this year, while Queensland based Laser Radial girl’s competitor Louise Evans will race at her second. Gilbert heads to Cyprus from the RS:X European Championships in Brest, France, with Evans jumping on the plane to Europe after finishing fourth at Queensland Youth Week on Saturday.
Three crews will make their Youth Worlds debut for Australia in Cyprus, with all three having been training hard since qualifying for the team back in January.
Windsurfer Jock Calvert will be the first Tasmanian to be a part of the Australian Sailing Youth Team for a number of years following his win at the 2013 OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championship on home waters in Hobart in January.
Calvert is a relative newcomer to windsurfing and last week competed at the RS:X European Championships in France.
29er crew Harry Price and Angus Williams secured their spot on the team in the final race of the OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championships, following close racing over two events.
Price, younger brother of London 2012 Olympic Games silver medallist Olivia Price, and Williams, only began sailing together in late 2012, their results a testament for how quickly they’ve developed as a team.
The final Australian Sailing Youth Team crew for 2013 is 420 boy’s representatives Lachlan Gilmour and Thomas Blaauw.
The Gilmour family isn’t new to the Australian Sailing Youth Team, with Lachlan’s older brother David representing Australia at the 2009 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in Brazil.
The 2013 Australian Sailing Youth Team will be supported by three coaches, Belinda Stowell, Larry Cargill and Brendan Todd.
Racing at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships begins in Limassol, Cyprus, next Monday 15 July and continue until Friday 19 July.
For more information on the Australian Sailing Youth Team become a fan of the team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AustralianYouthSailingTeam.