Five yachts out of the 67-strong fleet heading north are taking students from the Youth Sailing
Academy’s Advanced Squad, which has been training over the winter months. These include
Berani (David Todner), Brindabella (George Snow), Pendragon (Andrew Cochrane), Ragamuffin
(Syd Fischer) and Valtair (Matt Allen).
Each Sunday of the BMW Sydney Winter Series, students crewed on Club members’ yachts
to satisfy the practical component of the course. Many of these skippers have since invited
their young charges to continue sailing with them as part of the regular crew.
“For the Advanced students, competing in the Sydney to Gold Coast Race is their reward for
months of hard training,” said YSA Coach/Manager Lindsey Marwood. “This will be the first
offshore race for just one of the students going north, the rest already have at least one long
ocean passage under their belts.”
“Ideally we would have liked all 20 Advanced students to race to the Gold Coast however three
left for Japan on Saturday to compete in the Royal Pines Cup International Youth Match
Racing regatta, while the others are madly studying for their HSC mid-year exams”, she said.
Unlike the Category 1 Telstra Sydney to Hobart Race, the only restrictions on age for this
Category 2 race is that at least three crew members must be over 18 years of age and at least
50% of the crew must have long offshore racing experience. These safety initiatives came
about as a result of the review into the 1998 Telstra Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
“The Sydney to Gold Coast gives young sailors a chance to gain valuable ocean racing miles
so that when they reach 18, they have the experience and maturity to undertake a Sydney to
Hobart Race,” Lindsey added.