Game on at 2018 Australian Youth Championships

Sunny skies and 10 to 15 knot winds greeted competitors at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron for day one of the 2018 Australian Youth Championships – and Race Officials made the most of the neat conditions.

After a busy summer schedule, Otto Henry and Rome Featherstone won two from three races today to be leading the 420 fleet. Otto and Rome are keen to continue their consistent form after being crowned the 420 Youth World Champions in China before finishing just outside the top 10 at the 420 Worlds in Fremantle in December.

“We want to win and it’s looking windy for tomorrow and possibly the next day, so we will try to use what we learnt from Fremantle (420 Worlds 2017) to keep improving,” Otto said.

In a smaller fleet at the Youth Championships, the pair are enjoying their time in Queensland amongst familiar faces and racing conditions.

“We can come into the start a bit later here as it’s not as crucial to be racking up at the five minute start gun like at Worlds,” Rome said.

“Today was pretty tricky to catch up, whereas at the Youth Worlds we could catch up a bit better because, while it was shifty, there weren’t massive pressure differences.”

Both the boys are excited about the wind forecasts over the next couple of days.

West Australians Marcello Torre/Owen Ready, and Raffael Torre and Tom Hodge are on 10 points each, sitting second and third, respectively, in the 420 fleet, Matilda and Lily Richardson from Mornington Yacht Club are sixth overall and leading the female fleet, just one point ahead of Rebecca Hancock/Rhiannan Brown.

In the hotly contest Nacra 15 fleet, New South Wales crews dominated on day one with Tom Crockett/Tahnie Caldecoat leading the pack. Just two points separate first from third with current Nacra 15 national champions Will Cooley/Evie Haseldine in second and Tom Dawson/ Sarah Hoffman in third.

Henry Larkings/Miles Davey are six points ahead in the 29er fleet, followed by Archie Cropley/Simon Murnaghan in second and Lachlan Brewer/Max Paul in third. Alice Buchanan/Dervla Duggan from Tasmania are currently the first female team.

Finishing day one with three bullets, Laser Radial sailor, Zac West was all smiles at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron.

“It was a really good day, perfect conditions, perfect race course and just a perfect day,” Zac said.

“Conditions suited me today and the rest of the fleet are just so good off the start, if you get a bad start you have a bad race and there is no coming back, so it was a really good day of racing.

“The breeze should pick up tomorrow so we will have a lot more competitive racing and it will be game on.”

Paige Caldecoat is currently the first female in the Laser Radial fleet with two top 10 finishes. “It was a bit tricky, so consistency is key in this water,” she said.

Boston Cortis is leading the Laser 4.7 fleet with Sylvie Stannage fifth overall leading the female contingent. Over in the Bic Techno 293s, Hazel Devananda is three points clear, with Josephine Kirby currently the first placed female.

Over in the Bic Techno Plus, Max van der Zalm from New Zealand started the regatta with three bullets to be three points ahead of Aussie Alex Halank. Queenslander Hailey Lea had a consistent day to be the first female and fourth overall.

The 2018 Australian Youth Championships is incorporating the Nacra 15 and the Bic Techno 293 Oceania Championships, the Bic Techno + Youth Olympic Games Qualifier for Oceania and the Nacra 15 Youth Olympic Games Qualifier for Asia and Oceania.

Olympic gold and silver medallist and America’s Cup skipper, Nathan Outteridge, will attend the Australian Youth Championships on Sunday to inspire the next generation of sailors and talk about the SuperFoiler Grand Prix. He will be speaking from 5:30pm in the auditorium at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron on Sunday 14 January.
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