by Bernie Kaaks
Twelve of the world’s best youth match racing skippers will converge on Perth this month to compete in the 12th Warren Jones International Youth Match Racing Regatta, a Grade 2 event sailed on the Swan River. Four West Australian skippers will be joined by two from Sydney, one from Japan, one from the United States and four from New Zealand.
Chris Steele (NZ) and David Gilmour (AUS) will renew hostilities after some spirited competition in 2013.
Current title holder David Gilmour looms as the man to beat this year, having enjoyed a fabulous year on the international circuit, bouncing him up the Alpari world rankings to number 13, leap frogging his famous father, Peter in the process. David has just won the 49er Nationals and is fresh, confident and ready to go.
'We had a bit more experience in our overseas campaign,' David said this week. 'Our teamwork has come a long way as we gained in confidence. With some new faces on board it will be interesting to see how we go. I am looking forward to the challenge.'
New Zealander Chris Steele could be considered unlucky in last year’s regatta, when lack of breeze forced the cancellation of some of the final races, robbing him of the chance to compete in the final. He showed plenty of grit then and will be keen to do well again, as will his talented countrymen, Adam Middleton, Chris Staub, and Will Tiller.
American Chris Poole (Riptide Racing) is also in top form, being the second highest American and 27th on the Alpari world rankings. Both Poole and New Zealand’s Chris Staub will arrive early to try to adapt to Swan river conditions in South of Perth Yacht Club’s Little Wheel Regatta. They are sure to be tested though, with last year’s Warren Jones runner up Tristan Brown, the World Laser radial champion, also in the field.
Previous winners of the Warren Jones Regatta include many instantly recognisable names: Adam and Simon Minoprio (NZ), TorvarMirsky (AUS), and Phil Robertson (NZ) are just some of the winners who have gone on to compete with outstanding success on the international yachting scene.
Managed by Swan River Sailing and hosted by the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, the regatta will run from the 27th to the 31st January.