Please select your home edition
SW newsletters (top)

Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship underway

by Lisa Ratcliff 21 Nov 2018 21:04 PST 21-25 November 2018
Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship 2016 © Brendan Rourke

Racing in the Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship is under way on the narrow waterway of Pittwater to the north of Sydney, Australia, in westerly winds forecast to increase to a squally 30 knots by the afternoon on the opening day, Thursday November 22, 2018.

The Bureau of Meteorology has indicated a dust storm is possible for Sydney as gusty breezes blow across the state's dry interior to the coast Thursday and Friday before conditions are expected to ease over the weekend, when the regatta's second-half plays out climaxing in finals on Sunday November 25.

Twelve teams sailing for New Caledonia, the USA, New Zealand and Australia met at the host Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Wednesday afternoon for an official welcome and team introduction hosted by Commodore Michael Lockley and head coach Tom Spithill.

Leonard Takahashi, sailing for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, took out last year's Harken International and this week it was announced he has joined SailGP's Japanese team led by Australian 49er Olympic gold medallist Nathan Outteridge. Spithill says, "once again the Harken has proven an important step in the career development of the world's most promising young sailors."

Managing Director of the youth series' long-time naming rights sponsor Harken Australia, Grant Pellew, added at the official welcome: "In this room we could have the future leaders of this sport, possibly the next James Spithill."

Match racing is a complicated boat-on-boat round-robin competition where pairs try to out-manoeuvre and force penalties on each other, to stay on the right side of the judging team and gain the advantage to win the match or flight.

Coming into the 26th edition of the annual regatta for 23 year-olds and under is a mixture of those starting out on their match racing path to the winner of this year's Australian Open Match Racing Championship, James Hodgson and his Cruising Yacht Club of Australia crewmates and Juliet Costanzo, defending Australian Women's Match Racing Championship skipper competing for the host club.

Hodgson is the highest ranked skipper on the starting list, currently 35th in the world, and best-placed for a tilt at the $1000 prizemoney for first place offered by Harken Australia. Jordan Stevenson sailing for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is ranked 68th and brings the pedigree of that club's well-established youth program which has sailors training both Saturdays and Sundays almost year-round, plus gym time.

Furthest travelled are the two Balboa Yacht Club teams from Newport Beach in the USA and nationally Darwin Sailing Club is represented as are three Sydney clubs, the RPAYC, CYCA and Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. Among the 12 skippers are two women, Juliet Costanzo and Charlotte Griffin, and many teams are sailing with a mixed crew with the choice of four or five per boat.

Teams list: Skipper, home yacht club, city/country:

  • David Wood - Balboa Yacht Club - Newport Beach, USA
  • Jeffrey Petersen - Balboa Yacht Club – Newport Beach, USA
  • Tom Picot - Cercle Nautique Calédonien - Noumea, New Caledonia
  • Jed Cruickshank - Darwin Sailing Club - Darwin, Australia
  • Thomas Steenson - Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club - Newcastle, Australia
  • Frankie Dair, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron - Auckland, New Zealand
  • Jordan Stevenson - Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Lachlan Grimwade - Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club - Wellington, New Zealand
  • James Hodgson - Cruising Yacht Club of Australia - Sydney, Australia
  • Charlotte Griffin - Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron – Sydney, Australia
  • James Farquharson - Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club – Sydney, Australia
  • Juliet Costanzo - Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club – Sydney, Australia
Grant Pellew sent his welcome message to be read out to the assembled competitors, while he enjoys the rare opportunity to race himself - in Queensland at the A-Cat Worlds, but promised he'd be back in Sydney for the finals. "The Harken International is one of the longest running sailing sponsorships in Australia and testament to the RPAYC, it's hardworking volunteers and competitors. I'm excited to announce that Harken has just signed on for another three years' event sponsorship."

"Those from New Zealand will know the 'Gully breeze'," said RPAYC Commodore Michael Lockley. "Well westerlies on Pittwater are going to be just as challenging as the direction moves around a fair bit. Our staff have been working diligently to make sure you have the best gear available," he added, referring to the club's immaculately prepared Elliott 7 keelboats that were used recently at the Invictus Games.

Follow the live results here.

For more information visit

Related Articles

Bermuda Gold Cup eyes October running
Celebratory 70th regatta re-scheduled to October 25-30 on Hamilton Harbour When the calendar turned Jan. 1, 2020, organizers for the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club's Bermuda Gold Cup match racing regatta were eyeing this week, the 19th week of 2020, as a celebration of the storied regatta. Posted on 16 May
Governor's Cup 2020 attracts top fleet
Defending champion and two Youth Match Racing champions for Grade 1 event 2020 and 2019 Youth World Match Racing Champions, Australians James Hodgson and Tom Grimes, respectively, along with "GovCup" defending champion Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL), lead the field of skippers selected by Balboa Yacht Club Posted on 28 Apr
23rd Match Race Germany postponed to September
It cannot be held on its traditional and scheduled Pentecost date this year The 23rd edition of Match Race Germany cannot be held on its traditional and scheduled Pentecost date this year. We have to hoist the "postponement flag" because of the Corona pandemic. Posted on 31 Mar
Bermuda Gold Cup postponed to October
Celebratory 70th running to be held later in the year Organizers for the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club's Bermuda Gold Cup match racing regatta have postponed the celebratory 70th running to October due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and travel restrictions imposed around the world. Posted on 17 Mar
Congressional Cup 2020 postponed
Long Beach Yacht Club to announce new dates Long Beach Yacht Club has hoisted the postponement flag, announcing the 56th Congressional Cup regatta and events running up to it - including next month's California Dreamin' Series Long Beach stop and the 2020 Ficker Cup Posted on 15 Mar
Breault leading California Dreamin J/22 Match Race
A three-stop regatta designed to provide more opportunities for West Coast match racers San Diego Yacht Club and Long Beach Yacht Club have again joined forces with St Francis Yacht Club to continue another year of the popular California Dreamin' Series. Posted on 14 Mar
Harken Youth Match Racing Worlds: Hodgson wins
James Hodgson and his crew from Australia are the Harken Youth World Match Racing Champions Australian James Hodgson and his crew of Harry Hall, Louis Schofield and Nick Rozenauers, have been crowned HARKEN 2020 Youth Match Racing World Champions after defeating American Jack Parkin three-nil in the final. Posted on 1 Mar
GKSS Match Cup Marstrand announced
The 2020 Notice of Race has been released 'GKSS Match Cup Marstrand' was today announced as the new name of the Swedish world championship event of the 2020 World Match Racing Tour, this year hosting its 26th edition. Posted on 29 Feb
RYA unveils mixed match race crew rules
Teams must have at least one female sailor As part of an ongoing reform of RYA Match Racing to promote diversity and equal opportunities, crews entering the Summer Match Race events as well as the new Under 19 Championships must have at least one female sailor among the team. Posted on 29 Feb
Harken Youth Match Racing Worlds - Day 3
Into the semi finals for the top four teams including one Kiwi, two Aussies and one American crew An epic third day at the HARKEN 2020 Youth Match Racing Championship, supported by Barfoot & Thompson, has seen Australians Finn Tapper and James Hodgson, as well as New Zealander Nick Egnot-Johnson and American Jack Parkin qualify for the Semi-Finals. Posted on 29 Feb
MBW newsletters (top)