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Harken Youth Match Racing Champs - World’s top sailors come to Sydney

by Brendan Rourke/RPAYC on 10 Nov 2017
Harken Int. Youth Match Racing Cham,pionship 2016 - Winner Sarah Parker Brendan Rourke
The 2017 Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship will host the World’s best youth match racing talent, with competitors coming from across the globe including America, Japan, New Zealand, The Netherlands and across Australia. This year’s event is being managed by one of Australia’s best Race Management and International Umpire teams, setting it up to become one of the most prestigious Youth Match Racing Events in the world.

With the host Club The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club receiving over 30 applicants this year it was a hard decision for the committee selecting the 12 teams to compete. The teams selected has 6 of 12 teams ranked within the world top 150 and four remaining competitors in the top 300, competition for this year’s Rockin’ Robin Trophy will be fierce.

Top ranked skipper Jelmer Van Beek is representing The Netherlands with his Team Dutch Wave. They are currently ranked 42nd in the World Sailing Open Match Racing Rankings. Van Beek and his team have recently been competing across Europe in various match racing and keelboat events, gaining valuable experience and a competitive ranking as they work towards their goals of competing in the World Match Racing Tour.

Van Beek is closely followed by Leonard Takahashi, with a ranking of 43 reflecting his recent podium finishes at the New Zealand National Championships and 2017 Governor’s Cup (California, USA). Leonard has been campaigning in the international 49er class and competing at Grade 1 events including the 2018 World Cup Series - Round 1 held in Gamagori, Kaiyoh Yacht Harbor, Japan.

Closer to home is growing talent Finn Tapper from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia ranked 99th off the back of winning the 2017 CentrePoint International Youth Match Racing Championships in February (Wellington, New Zealand). He will be supported by mainsail trimmer Tom Grimes who has competed at the Harken previously and currently has his own ranking in the top 50.

Other top ranked teams include international guests Porter Killian from Balboa Yacht Club (USA), James Wilson and team representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (home of the America’s Cup), David Wood from Balboa, William Curtiss from Chicago Yacht Club (USA), Callum Radford from the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club (Wellington, New Zealand) and Eliott Quintin on behalf of Cercle Nautique Caledonien (New Caledonia).

Not to be missed are the interstate and local competitors including John Lynch and his team from Darwin Sailing Club who in 2017 hosted their first international match racing event in their new fleet of Elliott 7’s. Sarah Parker from The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club will be returning to the Harken in 2017 following her podium finish in last year’s event. The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s team features female helm Charlotte Griffin and her mixed team of new and experienced sailors. Charlotte had her match racing debut at this year’s Marinassess Women’s Match Racing Regatta held by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

Grant Pellew, Harken Australia's Managing Director has wished luck to all competitors in the lead up to the event. 'Harken are proud of our involvement of this event over the past 26 years, we believe youth sailing is one of the most important forms of our sport. We are heavily committed to youth sailing both here and overseas. The Harken family wish everyone taking part the best of luck in the regatta, may the best team win.' – Grant Pellew, HARKEN Australia Managing Director.

Racing starts November 23rd at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, Newport, Australia in the clubs polished fleet of Elliott 7’s.

2017 HARKEN International Youth Match Racing Championship Umpire Team:

• Chief Umpire: Ben Fels (International Umpire)
• Gary Deane (International Umpire)
• Gary Manuel (International Umpire)
• Damien Boldyrew
• Peter Bracken (NT)
• Rob Armstrong
• Robyn Tames
• Simon Barrington

Full Competitor List:

• Jelmer van Beek (NED)
• Leo Takahashi (JAP)
• Finn Tapper (AUS)
• Porter Killian (USA)
• James Wilson (NZL)
• David Wood (USA)
• Sarah Parker (AUS)
• John Lynch (AUS)
• William Curtiss (USA)
• Charlotte Griffin (AUS)
• Eliott Quintin (FRA)
• Callum Radford (NZL)

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