Evan Walker, with his new crew of Sean O’Rourke and Josh Cornford, has snatched victory in the Club Marine NSW Youth Match Racing Championship by the narrowest of margins.
Walker just scraped into round robin between the top six teams this morning and then made it into the semi-final stage on a countback before fighting his way through to sail in the final against Will Ryan’s team, which up to that point had a perfect scorecard after two days of racing.
While Will Ryan, Jay Griffin and Jono English won the first match of the finals series, Walker put up a valiant fight. Walker was over at the start but managed to reclaim the lead by the top mark. Showing superior downwind speed, Ryan then managed to pass Walker before the bottom mark and maintain the lead to record his fifteenth consecutive win.
Then Walker came back to win the second match, levelling the scores at one all.
In the words of chief umpire Andrew Baglin, the final match was an amazing race.
Following an even start, Walker took the early lead with the first starboard cross, the two Elliott 6s never more than a boat length apart. The deciding moment of the match occurred just after the final mark rounding when Ryan was penalised during a tactical duel. This gave Walker the space he needed to take the title.
In an all CYCA finals series, Jamie Woods and his crew of Byron White and Jeremy Wawn defeated Will McKenzie and his team 2-0 in the petit final.
Mateship did not stand in the way of these CYCA teams as they battled each other in the semi-finals.
Disappointingly for Sam Sexton, who commenced the final day in fourth position, his battle with Walker became the defining moment of the regatta for Walker. In a fresh to frightening, shifty and gusty Sydney sou’wester, Sexton led down the first run. Walker initiated a gybing duel but lost control and broached, giving Sexton a sizable lead at the bottom mark. Experience and perseverance on Walker’s behalf brought him back in touch with Sexton by the top mark where again Walker initiated a gybing duel. This time it was Sexton who was left laid flat on a broach as Walker took the win. This enabled Walker to scrape into the semi finals.
After a strong first day, Will McKenzie was only able to win one of his matches on the final day. In similar fashion, RSYS’s Ian Quartly was only able to secure victory once in his race against RPAYC’s Sexton to finish fifth overall.
At this afternoon’s trophy presentation, CYCA Vice Commodore Garry Linacre thanked the sponsor, Club Marine, for their ongoing support of the youth sailing at the CYCA, noting that it was fitting for the Elliott 6 sponsored by Club Marine to be in the final.
Full results available from www.cyca.com.au/editorial.asp?key=1539
Video highlights from the regatta are available at http://www.sailcam.tv