by Craig Heydon
On the final day of the 2012 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in Dublin, Ireland Australian sailors have won three medals.
Mark Spearman after winning gold in the Laser Radial, Ireland - ISAF Youth Worlds
A stunning come from behind victory for Laser Radial sailor Mark Spearman gave him gold, while it was silver for the 420 girls crew of Carrie Smith and Ella Clark and silver for the multihull crew of Paul Darmanin and Lucy Copeland.
Spearman went into the final race 13 points behind American sailor Mitchell Kiss, but with the Australian’s worst result a 17th and the American’s a black flag Spearman’s plan was simple, make sure the American finished as deep as possible. Spearman was in command in the light conditions, controlling his opponent and matching his every move, ensuring that they both finished at the back of the fleet but the Australian with the gold medal.
'My worse race was 17th so I was always going out to do what I did,' said Spearman. 'We stayed on a knock for ages and when we tacked back we were last and second last. 'It was an unbelievable finish to the regatta that is yet to sink in,' he said.
'Amongst such a high scoring regatta I have held consistent results that allowed me to use extreme tactics to take the title, I think I’m the happiest person ever to finish 51st in a race.'
Spearman showed that consistency pays on his way to gold at his first ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship appearance with the West Australian’s best finishing during the week a sixth, while managing to avoid the high scores picked up by those around him.
Australia’s 420 girls crew of Carrie Smith and Ella Clark started the final race one point behind the leading Italian pair. The Italians had the better race, crossing the line fourth with the Australians 10th, with the two securing gold and silver respectively.
'Again we had really tricky conditions today,' said Clark. 'We came back from a bad first beat to secure our second in the regatta overall making us really grateful for how hard we have worked.
'We stayed consistent the whole regatta to end up with a podium finish,' she said. 'We hope to come back next year in our last year of youths and do Australia proud again!'
The silver medal was a great reward for the pair after a year of hard work following their fourth place finish at the 2011 ISAF Youth World Championship in Croatia.
Paul Darmanin and Lucy Copeland headed into Friday third overall in the multihull class with the pair set to push hard to secure their podium finish. With the gold medal already wrapped up by the British crew Darmanin and Copeland started the final race two points behind second and just one ahead of fourth. The Australian pair finished the race third, allowing them to jump their Brazilian competitors and take the silver medal.
'Lucy and I are ecstatic after claiming silver today in an unpredictable and nerve-racking final race,' said Darmanin. 'We got an average start but picked the shifts well to round first way ahead of our closest rivals.
'It’s been a great regatta and to sail as part of an awesome team has made it very special, we’ll train hard to qualify next year and go for gold,' he said.
The silver was Darmanin’s second trip to the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship podium, having won gold in 2010, with the 2012 medal his first with Copeland.
Lucy Copeland and Paul Darmanin after receiving their silver medals (mixed multihull). Photo: Brendan Todd - ISAF Youth Worlds
Australia’s 29er crew, Tom Siganto and Joel Turner, finished the event sixth overall following a third in the final race.
In the 420 boys class Tom Klemens and James Oliver finished 12th overall, continuing their strong run over the final three days with a fourth place finish in the last race.
Louise Evans finished the week 16th in the Laser Radial girls fleet with the Queenslander 29th in Friday’s race. In the RS:X girls fleet Annalise Gilbert was 17th overall at her second ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship appearance.
Sam Treharne finished 20th in the RS:X boys after a 20th in the final race of the event.
The team was supported by coaches Brendan Todd, Tessa Parkinson and Ben Callard. 'We’re very happy with the team’s overall performance in the light winds today,' said Todd. 'Many of our sailors finished in the top 10 in their respective fleets or gained ground on the leaders during the regatta.
'Our medal winners got there by consistent performances and allowing the others to fall away behind them,' he said. 'The event was run extremely well and the winds were kind to the race management committee. The volunteer base here in Ireland was large and there was no end to their helpfulness and enthusiasm.'
Australia finished fifth in the Nations Trophy.
Carrie Smith and Ella Clark on the podium 420 Girls - ISAF Youth Worlds. Photo: Brendan Todd
Full results here