by Craig Heydon
The inaugural Youth Sailing Grand Prix is heading into the final few events with competition being tight amongst a number of classes. There are now only three regattas left for the 2011 Youth Sailing Grand Prix which include Sail Sydney, the Hobart Showdown Regatta, and Sail Melbourne, following the recent cancellation of Sail Brisbane.
Youth Sailing Grand Prix 2011
In the Laser Radial Boys class Queensland sailors Mitchell Kennedy and Jake Lilley are in a close battle at the top of the ladder with Kennedy leading the way by just nine points. Victorian Thomas Vincent is 11 points further back in third.
Ashley Stoddart is currently first in the Laser Radial Girls class with the Australian Youth Sailing Team representative 21 points ahead of Ella Evans with Alex South currently on the final step of the podium.
29er sailors Tess Lloyd and Lewis Duncan are first overall in that class, seven points ahead of New South Wales skipper Harry Price with Murray Jones and Patrick Menner 10 points adrift in third.
Melissa Hitchen-Haw has opened up a 42 point lead in the Laser 4.7 Girls class, ahead of Natasha Van Rennes and Madison Kennedy.
In the Laser 4.7 Boys class West Australian Benjamin Walkemeyer has a 47 point lead over Nicholas Connor with Ben Hartnett third overall.
West Australians Carrie Smith and Ella Clark are first overall in the 420 Girls, 16 points ahead of South Australians Jacqueline Stokes and Megan Soulsby with Nikita Thomas and Teresa Murray third.
In the 420 Boys class James Brewer and Dylan Passmore’s wins at Queensland Youth Week and the NSW State Youth Championships have given them the lead, ahead of Angus Galloway and Alex Gough, with Thomas Klemens and William Llewelyn third.
It’s a West Australian 1-2 in the RS:X with Eamon Robertshaw first and Patrick Vos second while in the Bic Techno Boys Sam Treharne has a massive 96 point lead over Ashley Heyworth with Laird O’Brien a point further back in third.
In the Bic Techno Girls Annalise Gilbert has a slender two point lead over Lara O’Brien with Samantha Sterling third.
Paul Darmanin and Aleks Vucic are first overall in the Hobie 16 class with Lucas Price and Joshua Singh and Bryce Haffner and Caleb White second and third respectively.
In the race for the State Trophy NSW currently leads the way, just three and a half points ahead of Queensland with Western Australia third.
For the first time ever Yachting Australia will be awarding prize money for a youth event, up to $3,000 per winning crew, dependent on the class. This is designed to assist with the costs incurred campaigning with the winners required to use the funds to compete at further events.
The Youth Sailing Grand Prix has been designed to build a strong national competition that encourages youth participation, providing young sailors with the chance to race at a number of regattas around the country against strong opposition.
For more information on the Youth Series Grand Prix visit their Facebook page or follow the series on Twitter. The policy document and updated point score for the series can be found on the Yachting Australia website.