After four days of fierce competition at the Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship, hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Chris Steele and his crew of Stewart Dodson and Rawiri Geddes, representing Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron have emerged victorious.
Steele faced Ashlen Rooklyn (CYCA) in the grand final having defeated Harry Price in the semi-finals 2-0. It would only take three matches for Steele to be crowned the 2012 Musto International Youth Match Racing Champion.
'I’m very relieved to win – the final was certainly some of the toughest matches of the week,' Steele said. 'It felt good going into the final match with the two wins on the board. We got a good start, grabbed the advantage and with no real passing possibilities we fought to keep the lead right up to the last beat.'
'Going into the finals our focus was to keep things simple and stay penalty free. Ash (Rooklyn) was excellent competition – the score line didn’t really reflect how close the racing was,' Steele said.
In the first match of the grand final, Rooklyn was given a penalty early on and couldn’t put enough distance between himself and Steele, leaving his penalty turn until the last moment.
Rooklyn scored another two penalties in the pre-start of the second grand final match, wiping off one penalty shortly after the start and carrying his remaining one throughout the match. In the third and final match, it was all clear in the penalty count and Steele got the jump from the start and never looked back.
'It’s been a really great regatta – everyone has improved in performance over the course of the regatta. I look forward to the Hardy Cup next year where we’ll be going head to head again. Thanks to all the competitors for such strong competition and to Musto for their sponsorship,' Steele added.
Rooklyn and his crew of Jack Breislin and Henry Kernot, progressed into the grand final defeating Sam Gilmour 2-0.
'The grand final was as tough as expected against Steele – he sailed exceptionally well. The result was disappointing as we made some mistakes and we received penalties – making a comeback almost impossible,' Rooklyn said.
'We will take away a lot from this regatta for our next competition and hope to have an equally good performance and a better result.'
'For the second flight of the semi-final, we didn’t change any of our tactics from yesterday and just kept a cool head. We were behind Gilmour at the start, but managed to chip away at his lead up the first beat. We took some ground off him at the top mark and managed to pull away and then maintain our lead,' Rooklyn added.
Sam Gilmour finished third overall in the regatta, beating Harry Price (CYCA) 2-1 in the petit final, losing to Rooklyn (0-2) in the minor semi-final.
'We had some crew issues today in the minor semi-final which we will learn from and look for ways to improve. The petit final against Harry (Price) was a good consolidation of the week – we struggled for the advantage at the start line as we were a bit off weight for the breeze,' Gilmour said.
'The last race in the petit final was very stressful as we were one race each - we put what we had learnt from the minor semi into place to give us the win. The toughest race of the day was definitely the second match of the petit final which we lost after receiving a double penalty at the bottom mark and our spinnaker drop wasn’t smooth.
'We knew we had to get back into a good headspace to win the final race, which we managed to do. We’ll certainly take away a lot from this regatta.
'Thank you to CYCA, Musto, umpires and officials without whom this regatta would not be possible. Also we would like to thank the yacht owners who allowed us to stay onboard their vessels - it is very much appreciated,' Gilmour added.
Chris Steele and crew win the Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship - www.SailPix.com.au
Race Officer Denis Thompson described the day as 'Sydney Harbour at its best – beautiful warm sunny summers days with a moderate north easterly breeze, with a few shifts.
'There was some very tight close racing – some of the best I’ve seen in a long time. It was very competitive with some great sportsmanship displayed in the acceptance of penalties.
Duncan Curnow, Managing Director of Musto Australasia congratulated all competitors on their performances. 'From what I witnessed throughout the week, all teams showcased great match racing skills and fierce competition. Congratulations to Chris Steele and his team and to all competing teams.'
Hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship was conducted on the Youth Sailing Academy Elliott 6s from the 27-30 November. There are current Elliott sponsorships available together with two regatta sponsorships for 2013. Interested parties should contact Mark Woolf, CEO via email on firstname.lastname@example.org. In 2013, the CYCA Youth Sailing Academy will celebrate its 20th anniversary and will launch a new fleet of Elliott 7s in September 2013.
For full regatta results, click here.
by Jennifer Crooks
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4:31 PM Fri 30 Nov 2012GMT
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