The Mornington Yacht Club has qualified to represent Australia in the Sailing Champions League Finals in Germany later this year after clinching an incredible victory in both the U22 and Open divisions of the Asia Pacific Final in Newcastle this past weekend.
Skipper James Jackson with his crew of Jack Eickmeyer, Lily Richardson and Matilda Richardson finished the qualifying rounds on top of the ladder, taking the ever-valuable extra point into a hotly-anticipated finals series for both U22 and Open divisions.
Mornington came up against two Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron teams in the Open Final, skippered by Zac West and Jed Cruickshank, as well as a local Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club team, skippered by Thomas Steenson.
With Mornington carrying the bonus point, they only needed one finals series race win to clinch the event, while all other teams required two, with Jackson and crew carrying their form from the qualifying round and winning the first race.
Things were a little more difficult in the U22 Finals, where MYC was pushed to a second race, with the local team from NCYC taking the first win of the U22 Finals.
The final results were:
- Mornington Yacht Club (1st U22)
- Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron 1
- Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron 2 (2nd U22)
- Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club 1 (3rd U22)
- Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron
- Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club 2
- Royal Geelong Yacht Club (4th U22)
- Woollahra Sailing Club (5th U22)
- Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania (6th U22)
- Middle Harbour Yacht Club (7th U22)
- Vanuatu Cruising Yacht Club
- Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron 2 (8th U22)
- Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club 3
- Australian Defence Force Academy Sailing Club
- The Bay Sailing Centre
“We’re really proud of what we’ve done and we’d love to thank everyone that’s put on the event,” Skipper James Jackson said after the win.
“We’d like to thank the club (MYC) so much for their support, it wouldn’t have happened without them.
“We’re looking forward to what’s to come and well done to all the other competitors.”
The event was well supported by a strong number of clubs from across Asia Pacific, which included former champions Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (2019) and Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania (2021), as well as a team from the Vanuatu Cruising Yacht Club.
The U22 skippers showed their dominance throughout the event as well, with eight of the 15 competing teams being U22, as well as three of the four in the Open Final and also the eventual winner.
Considering the challenges with weather in Newcastle last weekend, six of the nine scheduled qualifying rounds were able to be sailed, as well as two full finals series for Open and U22, equating to 27 separate races over two days.
Event Director and 2000 Olympic Gold medallist Mark Turnbull OAM said the concept of league sailing was picking up pace in Australia and across Asia Pacific as more clubs joined the events and the successful rollout of both the VIC and SA Sailing Leagues.
“This club-versus-club, league sailing format has been a staple throughout Europe for years, and it’s fantastic we can now see more momentum for it in Australia and across Asia Pacific,” he said.
“As we come out the back of COVID and with international borders now opening up, we can’t wait to see our local teams back on the world stage later this year.”
The last time an Australian team competed in the world final of the Sailing Champions League was in 2019 when the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron was crowned best sailing club in the world.
For more information and full results, visit http://sailing-championsleague.asia
By Harry Fisher