Kiwi leads after opening day of Harken Youth Match Racing

Exciting match racing on Day One of the Harken Youth Match Racing
Damian Devine

21st Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship 2013 - Pre championship favourite Chris Steele representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron led the way after day one of the Harken Youth Match Racing Championship with a perfect eight wins from eight starts in the stage one round robin on Pittwater yesterday, hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club.

After the 0830hrs race briefing, racing got underway at 1000hrs under Race Officer Ted Anderson in a steady 10 knot East North easterly that built to 15 knots later in the day with a course set north of Scotland Island.

In an epic day for competitors, race officials and umpires, racing didn’t complete until after 6pm taking advantage of the excellent breeze and saw 14 of the 19 flights completed.

Downwind duelling into the finish line as penalties played out in an exciting match between Clare Costanzo (RPAYC) and Zac Pullen (RYCT)
Damian Devine

Steel, the runner up last year and the highest ranked match racer in the fleet and in his third Harken regatta, second as skipper was his steely self as he went through the motions to knock up his eight bullets. He has two matches left in today’s completion of stage one of the round robin with one against second placed Malcolm Parker representing the host club, the RPAYC who had a great day also with six wins from seven matches. This should be an interesting battle with Parker and his crew looking determined out on the race track on day one.

There was a short delay to racing this morning of day two as the AP was flown awaiting a thunder storm to pass. Race Committee and competitors finally made their way to the start line a little after 103hrs. Due to the conditions and the forecast for tomorrow of very little breeze the Race Committee have amended the sailing instructions to accommodate.

Second placed Malcolm Parker and crew coming to the top mark - photo by Damian Devine
Damian Devine

There are still five flights remaining to complete round one which will be first up today. Following that the top six skippers will move to stage two and will sail a single round robin with points carried forward from Round One. The top four skippers from stage two will go through to the semi finals/finals stage. Stage three will see a single round robin for the remaining skippers to determine seventh to 11th placings.

The forecast for today is for a freshening 20-25 knot North Easter with the chance of more rain and a top of 24 degrees. If the forecast rings true, there is a good window of opportunity for the race committee to complete round one and as much of round two and three as possible in challenging conditions on Pittwater.

Day one leader Chris Steele in action at the top mark
Damian Devine

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Standings after Round Robin 1:

1. Chris Steel (RNZYS) – 8/8
2. Malcolm Parker (RPAYC) – 6/7
3. George Brasell (RNZYS) – 5.5/7
4. Sam Ellis (GSC) – 4/8
5. Oliver Hartas (CYCA) – 3/5
6. Jack Thompson (NHYC) – 3/5
7. Samuel Mackay (RPNYC) – 3/6
8. Clare Costanzo (RPAYC) - 3/8
9. Zac Pullen (RYCT) – 2/8
10. Eddie Moult (RSYS) – 2/9
11. Blake Poole (GSC) – 0/8