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Australian Match Racing Championships title to Evan Walker

by Peter Campbell on 17 Nov 2010
Close racing between Evan Walker and Nick Rogers in the final of the Australian match racing championship - Australian Match Racing Championship Andrea Francolini Photography http://www.afrancolini.com/
Australian Match Racing Championships - Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Youth Sailing Academy graduate Evan Walker yesterday stamped himself as one of the nation’s outstanding young match racing helmsmen with a hard-fought victory in the Hardy’s Australian match racing championship.

Sailed on Hobart’s River Derwent in blustery westerly winds with chilly mountain gusts of up to 33 knots, Walker came from behind to win his semi-final against young fellow Sydney sailor David Chapman.

He then held off the tenacious veteran Tasmanian yachtsman Nick Rogers in a final that could have gone either way.

Sailing four-up, with Olivia Price, Jack Hubbard and Amanda Scrivenor as crew, Walker beat Chapman, from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron 2-1 in their best-of-three race semi-final.

Walker then won three extremely close races from Rogers, a champion International Dragon class sailor from the Royal Yacht of Tasmania, to win the title 3-0. Sailing with Rogers were Simon Burrows and Julian Salter, a considerably older combination than the young Sydney crew.

In the second race of the final, Walkers boat crossed the line less than a metre in front of Rogers’. In all three races the two identical Ellliott 5.9s were never more than two or three boat lengths apart, sailing in conditions where seamanship skills took over from tactics as the ‘bullets’ ripped down from Mount Wellington, above Hobart.

'I was fortunate in having two girls in my crew who have had lots of international match racing experience and success over the past year or two,' Walker said back the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. 'We knew Rogers would be a tough opponent in the heavier conditions but we just managed to hold him out.'

The two women, Olivia Price and Amanda Scrivenor, will continue match racing tomorrow when they assume the role of skippers of their individual teams in the Australian women’s match racing championship. Scrivenor was part of the women’s crew that in 2009 won the ISAF women’s world match racing championship in Sweden.

'The racing today was very tight, but it is obvious that all of them do a lot of match racing,' Rogers said of his opponents. 'They were always thinking ahead with their tactical moves.'

Evan Walker, 23, got involved in the boat-for-boat tactical discipline of match racing through the CYCA’s Youth Sailing Academy in 2002, each weekend travelling down to Sydney from his parents’ home on Lake Macquarie

He was the ISAF (International Sailing Federation) world youth champion and Australian Youth Sailor of the Year in 2005. In 2006 he won the Australian youth match racing championships, followed by back-to-back Australian open match racing championships (today was his third) and twice won the prestigious Hardy Cup at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

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