Hardy Cup defender and Australian open match racing champion Evan Walker is in winning form to success with the ISAF Grade 3 under 25 match racing regatta starting on Sydney Harbour tomorrow, 7 February.
Walker returns to Sydney this weekend to after two outstanding match racing results in Perth, Western Australia, winning the Colin Mullens International Youth Regatta and the Warren Jones International Regatta.
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Youth Sailing Academy graduate has won the Hardy Cup twice, in 2008 and again in 2010, after finishing third in 2009. Last year he also won the Australian open match racing championship in Hobart.
In each victory, Walker has fought back with great determination to reach the finals, and the Hardy Cup will suit him as he will be back sailing in the more familiar Elliott 6 sports boats.
His major opposition in the Hardy Cup will be Perth sailor David Gilmour and his rival from across the Harbour, David Chapman representing the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron which each year conducts the Hardy Cup. A third rival will be New Zealander Adrian Short, who won the Cup in 2009 and finished third last year.
Gilmour, who sails for the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, is the son of America’s Cup helmsman and world match racing champion Peter Gilmour and was runner-up to Walker in both regattas in Perth.
Chapman finished third to Walker and Gilmour in the Colin Mullens regatta in Perth and also third in last year’s Australian open match racing championship. He has also been sailing in overseas events, including winning England’s RYA Youth National match racing championship at Weymouth and the Polish match race tour event at Szczecin.
Also representing the RSYS will be Jordan Reece, who placed fourth in the Hardy Cup and third in the National Bank Youth International in Auckland last year, while William McKenzie is another CYCA skipper. William has been in the crew of Walker in the two Perth events.
New Zealand has five teams in the Hardy Cup, with a history of success in the prestigious regatta over the years.
In addition to Adrian Short, who this year is representing the Sandspit Yacht Club, the Kiwi teams are headed by Matthew Steven, William Tiller and Samantha Osborne, from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in
Auckland and Josh Poresbski, representing the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington.
Tiller, with an ISAF ranking of 35, must be a strong contender, with match race regatta wins in the USA last year at the Oakcliff Invitational in New York and the Governor’s Cup at Newport Beach. He was also runner-up in the NZ match racing championships and the Korea Match Cup qualifier in Gyeonggi, Korea.
The first of two round-robins of match races are scheduled to start tomorrow, with the Hardy Cup continuing through to the finals on Thursday.