by Lara Watts
Held annually, the event attracts over 150 competitors from across Australia and this year over 15 of the entrants will be from Victoria. In addition, there are also a large number of international competitors from Singapore competing off the shores of Frankston.
The Championship includes events for Laser 4.7 (Girls and Boys), Laser Radial (Girls and Boys), Laser Full Rig (Boys), 420 (Girls, Boys & Mixed), Hobie 16 (Open) and for the first time the Bic Techno 293 Sailboard (Girls and Boys).
One of Victoria's rising stars, Ben Gunther, 17 year old from Brighton will be competing at the event in the Laser class. A promising athlete as a junior, Ben won the 2001 Victorian Flying Eleven Championship and placed second at the 2005 Victorian Sabot Championship. In 2006, he won the Laser Radial Youth/Masters Championship, Victorian Port Phillip Championship and the Victorian Laser Radial Youth Championship. Ben competed at the 2007 Australian Youth Olympic Festival on Sydney Harbour, is captain of his school sailing team (St Leonard’s college) and is a member of the Yachting Victoria Youth Sailing Team.
He commented 'I really enjoy sailing because I am able to travel around Australia and sail, meeting new friends everywhere I go and competing against world class sailors.
'And I’m really looking forward to competing in my home town and against some tough competition from Australia and overseas at the youth champs this year'.
Richard Taylor (Laser Radial) is 17 years of age from Brighton. He started sailing in Sabots at Black Rock Yacht Club at the age of eight, has competed in six Sabot Australian titles earning him a coveted Lionel Shipway medal, captained the Victorian Sabot team on two occasions and finished his time in Sabots with a 15th position overall in Yeppoon before moving into the Laser Radial. He has sailed for his school sailing team (St Leonard’s college) alongside Ben Gunther and has competed at three Australian Schools Teams Championships, where his best position to date has been a fourth place in Hobart this year. He has been a regular and current member of Yachting Victoria’s Junior and Youth Teams. This is Richard’s first full season in the Laser Radial and he will compete at the Laser Australian Championship at Blairgowrie Yacht Club in December before the Youth Championship in January.
Sam and Lewis Duncan, 15yrs and 13 yrs from Altona are about to embark on a full season competing in the 420 class. Both have achieved great results in the International Cadet class including winning the Sandringham Yacht Club International Cadet Class Championship and placing second in the same regatta on two occasions. They have also won the 2004 Victorian International Cadet Class State Championship with the youngest combination and more recently they represented Australia at the 2007 International Cadet World Championship in Wales.
The pair will now look forward to not only competing at the Australian Youth Championship this season in the 420 class but also the Victorian State Titles, Go for Gold Regatta on Port Phillip Bay, Sydney International Regatta and the Adelaide International Regatta.
Yachting Australia President, Andrew Plympton commented 'Yachting Australia is delighted with the number of entries to this year’s Championship, especially from Victoria and the depth of talent which will be on display.
'The OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championship 2008 is Yachting Australia’s pinnacle event and is made possible only because of the generous support from our Principal Partner the Australian Sports Commission, our major sponsor OAMPS Insurance Brokers and our sponsors Frankston City Council and our host for the event, Frankston Yacht Club.
'During the Championship, Port Phillip will provide both light shifty breezes and large seas and strong winds ensuring excellent and challenging racing conditions for all competitors.
'Off the water, Frankston City has long been one of Melbourne’s favourite playgrounds offering outstanding beaches, parks, cafés, shopping and endless opportunities to have fun'.
Entries closed on Friday 30th November, 2007 however late submissions may be accepted at the discretion of Yachting Australia (late fees apply).
The OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championship 2008 is the selection event for the OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Sailing Team. A Team of up to 10 competitors will compete at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship to be held in Aarhus, Denmark from 10th – 19th July, 2008. The Team will also be defending the Volvo Nations Trophy after being crowned the most successful nation at the same event held in Canada in July this year.
Event Website - www.yachting.org.au/youthchamps