Neck and neck at the start in the final match between Hazard and Steele - 20th Harken International Youth Match Racing Championships
Racing forged ahead today in the 20th Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship, hosted by the RPAYC with the completion of the round robin stage of the regatta.
Dave Hazard from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron led the way with a perfect scorecard of nine from nine to be the leader going into tomorrow’s semi finals.
He will be partnered in the top four by fellow RNZYS sailor Chris Steele who finished with eight from nine whilst Sam Gilmour from WA’s Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club secured third position on a count back from the other RNZYS all female crew skippered by Claudia Pierce in fourth with both finishing on 5 points. Three crews from the one club in the semis gives the Kiwis a likely stranglehold on the Rockin’ Robin Trophy for the fourth year in a row.
The AP signaled a delay to racing as the race committee led by RO Ted Anderson waited for the breeze to fill in early on day two. The AP finally came down at 1115hrs as competitors made their way to the start line with racing anticipated to get underway at 1230hrs in a building 10 knot South Easterly. Unfortunately, it took a bit longer to set a course as the breeze danced around Pittwater
Claudia Pierce RNZYS female crew goes into the semi finals in fourth - 20th Harken International Youth Match Racing Championships
Finally, a little after 1300hrs flight 12 got underway with three races. With only four flights to complete the single round robin stage, the aim for the day was to complete these and then commence the fifth-10th placed round robin. But Pittwater was at its flukiest best making it a challenging day for the race committee and the competitors as they just managed to just get the final flight in with the breeze fading.
The AP once again was hoisted after flight 12 was completed as the breeze died then shifted 90 degrees to be coming out of the East. The race committee upped anchor and to set a new course to accommodate the shift. There was another delay of almost an hour before racing got back underway at 1415hrs with the breeze settling into a good 10-12 knots.
Hazard picked up from where he left off yesterday and was completely dominant again today, winning two of his three races comfortably.
The most anticipated match of the day was the race between defending champion and overnight leader Dave Hazard and his Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron compatriot Chris Steele who was placed second going into day two. The pair, both undefeated going into the race, the last of the day, had an exciting pre start in a game of cat and mouse with Steele coming out just on top to lead by a nose at the start.
Hazard sailed the boat better on the beat upwind, leading at the top mark on both laps. Steele had the better downhill speed in the runs cutting back any lead Hazard had forged at the top mark to minimise the lead to a boat length at the bottom mark.
Dave Hazard, dominated day two with a perfect scorecard - 20th Harken International Youth Match Racing Championships
On the final downwind, Hazard had the advantage but in a spectacular gybe a third of the way down the run Steele tried to steal the advantage, asking the question of the umpires on countless occasions attempting to inflict a penalty on Hazard.
Hazard held his nerve and tried pushing Steele off to the right hand side of the course with the boats still neck and neck. In a nail biting finish, the boats gybed back towards the finish line and Steele was given a penalty within 10 metres of the line as he tried to push Hazard up. Hazard crossed the line first with nothing in it, with a dejected Steele having to complete a penalty turn.
Hazard commented on the day’s racing 'We had a good day today winning all of our races. We had a good race with Chris and managed to get a penalty on him at the end and just held on to take the win. That was pretty intense. Not sure who we are against in the semis but we’re looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday. If the pressure is the same as forecast, that’s perfect for us.'
The fifth to 10th placed round robin will be the race Committees priority tomorrow with competitors carrying their points from the first round robin into the next stage as they sail off against each other once.
The forecast for tomorrow is for a typical North East sea breeze at 12 knots increasing to 15 to 20 knots in the afternoon.
Conditions that will be welcomed favourably by RO Ted Anderson who commented, 'A good day’s racing but challenging conditions. It was great to get the round robin complete as we now head towards the pointy end of the competition. As usual, the cream rises to the top. The forecast tomorrow and Sunday looks excellent with typical Pittwater weather, so it’s going to be an exciting two days ahead!.'
The nail biting finish between Hazard and Steele - 20th Harken International Youth Match Racing Championships
Standings after Day Two – Round robin complete:
1. Dave Hazard (RNZYS) – 9/9
2. Chris Steele (RNZYS) – 8/9
3. Sam Gilmour (RFBYC) – 5/9
4. Claudia Pierce (RNZYS) -5/9
5. Sam Mackenzie (RPNYC)– 4/9
6. Stephanie Doyle (RPAYC - 4/9
7. Milly Bennett (RPAYC) – 3/9
8. Sam Ellis (GSC) – 3/9
9. Jaidan Stevens (RSYS) – 2/9
10. Liam Bennett (RPAYC – 2/9
Follow all the action on the water with live results at: www.rpayc.com.au/ regatta/2012-harken-international-youth-match-racing-championship/
One of the premier events for youth on the match racing circuit, the 2012 HARKEN International Youth Match Racing Championship marks the 15th consecutive year with HARKEN Australia as naming rights sponsor.
Their ongoing commitment to the development of youth match racing is a credit to the Northern Beaches leading manufacturer and marketer of quality sailboat hardware and accessories.
The gybing duel as Steele steals the lead momentarily - 20th Harken International Youth Match Racing Championships