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JESS Match Cup at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club

by JESS Match Cup 7 Dec 2018 09:48 PST
Jerwood leads Prieto-Low - JESS Match Cup © Susan Ghent / RFBYC

Matt Jerwood and his Redline Racing team have made their mark in Perth, returning to keelboat match racing for the first time in years. The 26 year old and his team of Niall Morrow, Mark Whittington and Alex Landwehr dominated the Round Robin Series of the JESS Match Cup with a clean score card of wins.

Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club's Grade 4 event was named in honour of the JESS programme, a unique event that nurtured 160 young sailors from 1988 until 2016. The original concept was developed by RFBYC's coaching co-ordinator at the time, Huck Scott.

His vision was to offer young yachtsmen and women the opportunity to not only improve their skills as sailors but to develop their character and leadership qualities through planning and embarking on a tour of Europe, competing in 420 class championships in a team of six sailors and two support staff. He said "The JESS Experience is demanding on the sailors, clubs, parents and team leaders, but the rewards are rich. The experience for the sailors is a once in a life time event".

Raced in BW8 yachts, the JESS Match Cup is an open match racing event with an overall winner in the Open, Youth and Women's division. Jerwood, racing for South of Perth Yacht Club commented after the event, "Redline Racing had a great time at the JESS Match Cup after a long time between keelboat match racing hit outs after shifting focus to the cats and foiling. We love match racing, it's so honest and brutal in how it shows your weaknesses."

With six straight wins in the Round Robin Series he chose to match Liam Wilson in the Semi-final Round. Liam and his older crew of Dave Spearman, Margot Matthews, Clive Beeton / Neil Clegg formed their team through training in the RFBYC Summer Squad and are relatively new to match racing. Their coach Ryan Donaldson was delighted to see this new team make it through to the final four after a steep learning curve to get to the event. They had defeated two more experienced younger teams of Intrepid Racing (Luke Dobrich) and Australis Match Racing Team (Murray Buchan) as well as the women's team skippered by Sandy Anderson.

In the other match, Ethan Prieto-Low (Calypso Racing) was up against Marcello Torre (Columbus Racing). Prieto-Low was fresh off the plane from another match racing event in Sydney and both teams were hoping to qualify through this event for the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta in January. Ethan and his crew of George Boulden, Adam Brenz Verca and Andrew Henderson took their youth rival 2-0 and were through to the Final Round. They would be up against Redline Racing.

The Petit-Final was contested by Liam Wilson and Marcello Torre with third place overall awarded to Torre and his crew of Conall Hansford, Oliver Mavrick, Owen Ready and Raffael Torre.

During the Final Round a good crowd of spectators had gathered on the lawn at RFBYC to listen to the race commentary by local identity Ed Fethers and his co-hosts Mark Lovelady and Will Boulden, ranked ninth in the World Sailing match racing rankings.

Prieto-Low and Jerwood provided some excitement for the crowd in the first to score three points round, Ethan taking the first win. Jerwood evened up the score card in the next race finishing the race with a clear lead and took the next win too. As the light began to fade and the breeze weakened, Prieto-Low was not giving up. Jerwood entered on port and hoisted a spinnaker. His effort to cross Prieto-Low failed and he was too late to get rid of it and enter in to a dial up manoeuvre.

Jerwood waited until the last possible moment in an attempt to get across his bow but had to gybe to keep clear letting Prieto-Low get control of the pre-start. With very light winds it was a test of boat speed for the teams and eventually Jerwood managed to break free. As they approached to start, Jerwood made a surprise break for the pin end of the start and tacked on to port.

Prieto-Low opting for the boat end on starboard looked like he would be in a better position until he was called over the line. Both teams entered a dial down situation, Jerwood's Redline Racing on port tack and Calypso Racing on starboard. There was a close situation and a call to the umpires, the penalty was to Jerwood. It was almost sunset when Redline Racing managed to gain enough distance in the fading breeze to complete their penalty turn and beat Prieto-Low across the finish line in an exciting end to the Final Series, 3-1 to Jerwood.

RFBYC would like to thank the volunteer team led by Race Officer John Taylor and Chief Umpire John Standley for putting their time and skills in to another successful and enjoyable JESS Match Cup.

Overall results:

1st Redline Racing – Matt Jerwood, Alex Landwehr, Mark Whittington, Niall Morrow.
2nd (YOUTH) Calypso Racing – Ethan Prieto-Low, Andrew Henderson, George Boulden, Adam Brenz Verca.
3rd Columbus Racing – Marcello Torre, Raffael Torre, Owen Ready, Oliver Mavrick, Conall Hansford (Lucy Alderson).
4th Send It – Liam Wilson, Dave Spearman, Clive Beeton / Neil Clegg, Margot Matthews.
5th Australis Match Racing Team – Murray Buchan, Grant Box, Ben Walsh, Andrew Buchan.
6th Intrepid Racing – Luke Dobrich, Grayson Downes, Kai Colman, Brock Pitcher.
7th Team VS – Sandy Anderson, Jenny Spearman, Caroline Gibson, Leonie Rochford, Jodi Earnshaw.

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