• Youth Division helms and some of their crew get a feel for the 2018 SB20 Australian Championship perpetual trophy. Photo Jane Austen.
    Youth Division helms and some of their crew get a feel for the 2018 SB20 Australian Championship perpetual trophy. Photo Jane Austen.
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The competition will be fierce on the water in the Youth Division of the 2018 SB20 Australian Championship which gets underway on the River Derwent in Hobart today. There are five youth entries in the championship and they will be pitting their skills against some of Tasmania’s finest one-design sailors.

Will Sargent (17), skipper of the Taz Racing Team, and sailing with Issi DeClerk, Ethan Galbraith and Ben Reid, is raring to go today.

“I haven’t steered an SB20 before, but I’ve done a lot of Elliott 6/7s and Laser sailing. I really enjoy asymmetrical downwind racing. We are hoping for some decent results, to win at least one race and hopefully finish in the top five [overall],” said Sargent. 

Sargent has received mentoring from former America’s Cup Challenger and TP52 sailor, Tasmanian Mal Parker, with Parker offering some wise words for Sargent as they head into big national regattas, as well as some extreme rig settings to test out.

“My advice is to not get distracted with other teams’ issues, such as protests and breakages. Plan each day before leaving the dock, allowing lots of time for unexpected things. You never want to feel rushed when leaving the dock. Enjoy the experience and have fun!

“Will and I have done some match racing facetime sessions. He is a smart young man with a big future and an appetite for learning. It’s great to be able to help him,” said Parker.

Jock Calvert is skippering Difficult Woman with a crew of Sam King, Finn Buchanan, James Gough and Jasmin Galbraith. (Calvert has named four crew for the regatta as King is unavailable for Friday while he attends his final Year 12 school assembly). King has been sailing under the watchful eye of champion sailor Rob Gough. King is mentored by Gough under the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s (RYCT) mentoring program.

“Rob is really helpful with his big regatta experience; if I have an issue, he talks me through it and gives me strategies to take my mind off things; time management is his big thing; he always encourages us to plan our day and be really strict, right down to the half hour. He also gives us tips on rig settings, but I’m not sure I can share those with you,” said King.

Anna Reid is skippering Essence of Athena, one of two entries from the Athena Sailing program. Reid has been sailing SB20s for a few years now.

“Our goal for the Nationals is to have fun and get around the course without anyone falling out. The Athena Sailing program is helping me with my helming and I get to sail with a great bunch of girls. And I love being part of Athena because it’s a really good way for women to get involved with this amazing sport,” said Reid.

Reid sails with Laura Cooper, Meg Goodfellow and Emily Nicholson.

Will Cooper will helm the Murray Jones, with Charlie Zeeman and Finn McLagan, while Jacob McConaghy will helm the Warwick Dean, with Charlie Goodfellow, Jack Allison and Ollie Hugo. Both boats are entrants from The Hutchins School Sailing Academy (THSSA).

- Jane Austin

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