The 2015 Australian Sailing Youth Team (AYST) of 14 sailors across nine classes are on the right track for the ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne as they look to gain valuable last match practise prior to representing their country at the 2015 ISAF Youth World Championship in Malaysia.
ASYT athletes from NSW, Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania are in the midst of a heavy training block, both in the gym and on the water, in the lead up to the world cup and a rare opportunity to unite from December 7-13 at St Kilda and gauge where they sit on the ladder before taking on the world’s elite at the ISAF youth worlds.
For Higher School Certificate students on the ASYT it’s been a challenging year gaining selection and finishing off their studies. 29er pair of Kurt Hansen, the 2014 29er Open world champion, and Jim Colley have finally ditched the books and launched into a full time on-water and fitness regime.
“Melbourne is the last big training regatta before the youth worlds and we are taking it seriously and will treat it as if it is the youth worlds,” said bowman Jim Colley.
“It’s been difficult finding enough time since Queensland Youth Week (final selection event) back in June with the HSC,” Hansen added. “Melbourne then Sail Sydney are the last steps before the worlds; the whole youth team will be there and they will be good team bonding opportunities.”
On the youth worlds in Langkawi December 27- January 3, 2016, Hansen added: “We can’t wait, and not just for the competition but it will be a good experience meeting the best from other countries knowing we might race against them in future Olympics.”
The pair represents the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and Middle Harbour 16’ Skiff Sailing Club and their ultimate ambition is representing Australia at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in a 49er skiff.
Recent HSC graduates and ASYT 29er sailors Amelia Stabback and Pia Doyle from Middle Harbour Yacht Club at The Spit in Sydney will be the first female 29er crew to contest the youth worlds in the newly added category.
On sailing at the new St Kilda World Cup venue next month, helm Amelia Stabback said, “We are really excited to sail somewhere different. We are used to only our coaches watching rather than a crowd – it will be good to involve more people in the sport.”
“At the moment we are preparing for Asia’s light winds rather than Port Phillip’s varied summer conditions, but we know the world cup will be great for training and practising our regatta processes, and on board communication,” Doyle chipped in. “We’ll be sailing fast and smart and hoping to do well….a win would be nice!” she added.
ASYT sailor Xavier Winston Smith crews for NSW’s Alec Brodie in the 420 class and is keen for the new regatta season to commence, and to head to the St Kilda venue which has been designed to take advantage of the historic Sea Baths facility and Pier, plus nearby Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron. “At the new venue I don’t think the bay winds will be too different but maybe the tide will,” Winston-Smith wondered. “Hopefully setting up in a busy Melbourne suburb attracts the crowds and more public attention.”
Like the rest of the ASYT the 420 sailors have a tight schedule of the ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne, Sail Sydney December 17-20 at Woollahra Sailing Club, then the big one, the youth worlds. “It will be good to get the team together for those events, we only see each other a couple of times a year,” Winston-Smith added.
For more info on the 2015 Australian Sailing Youth Team see here.
The ISAF Sailing World Cup offers the following youth and invited classes alongside the Olympic class competition:
420 x 21
2.4mR Non Classified x 9
29er x 21
Optimist x 82
4.7 x 29
Laser Radial Men x 31
Liberty x 6
Minnow x 15
Open Bic x 22
Skud Non Classified x 2
Viper x 13
The bulk of racing is scheduled to commence on Wednesday December 9 and finish on Sunday 13 with the Medal Races. See the full schedule here.
The regatta will be conducted at St Kilda for all classes except the Liberty, 2.4, SKUD 18 and Sonar classes which will be based at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria at Williamstown, Melbourne.
ISAF Sailing World Cup entries close at midnight on December 1, 2015. More competitor information here.
By Lisa Ratcliff