A fantastic welcome ceremony got underway for the 2019 Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club. The star-studded line-up of 10 youth (under 23) teams from both local and international clubs came together to socialise, meet each other and members of the club at the pre regatta official welcome function before the competition starts today.
Commodore Michael Lockley welcomed competitors, members and guests to the event before handing over to Harken's National Sales & Technical Manager Callum Cecil who reiterated Harken's support of the event and Harken's ongoing commitment to sailing from the youth & dinghy level all the way through to the Grand Prix and Americas Cup.
World number 20 and the bookies favourite Matt Whitfield, representing Penarth Yacht Club, Wales, said he was confident his newly-established team could come together to get the top prize. “We are really looking forward to getting out on the water, being able to wear shorts and a t-shirt at this time of year is amazing.”
The highlight of the evening was special guests from Australian SailGP Team, skipper Tom Slingsby and Trimmer Ky Hurst; who brought along their newest piece of silverware to add to their ‘poolroom’, the magnificent Sail Grand Prix Championship Trophy.
After both kids and adults alike managed to snap a picture with Tom, Ky and the trophy, they were all inspired by both of their unique challenges and accomplishments as they listened to the top sailors in not only Australia but the world.
The winner of the 2017 Harken, Leonard Takahashi subsequently went on to sail for the Japanese SailGP team. MC Tom Spithill asked both Tom and Ky whether they see these kinds of high-profile events, particularly the Harken, as a breeding ground for future emerging stars stepping up into the big league, to which Tom Slingsby commented, “Absolutely. Kinley Fowler, our teammate on SailAusGP is a good example. He has now got his name on both the SailGP and the Harken ‘Rockin Robin’ Trophy”.
The in-depth Q & A style session was a valuable asset to all the sailors present, with the key points of setting a goal and never ever giving up, combined with the more hours on water the more an athlete will develop their skills.
SailGP is not just about racing at high speeds in 50 footers. They have launched their ‘Inspire” Program for grassroot sailors. Slingsby proudly announced that for Sydney in February 2020 the Waszp Class dinghy will be involved in a pre-race event on Sydney Harbour, followed by the SailGP event.
SailGP believes that sailing should be truly accessible to all, which is a mentality the RPAYC also believes in. Through SailGP Inspire Learning, young people can get a real taste of the sport with hands-on lessons, mentorship and team building. This is learning by doing, and a step towards skills that last a lifetime, regardless of experience. Inspire learning introduces students at local host venues to sailing as well as the science behind the sport.
For the 50 Harken Competitors out on Pittwater, NSW today, all are chomping at the opportunity to compete in the club’s fleet of Elliott 7 Keelboats and get their names engraved on the trophy. Day 1 of racing kicks off at 1000hrs in what should be a typical spring day with a building Northeasterly seabreeze forecast for the afternoon.
Live Results can be followed at: https://www.matchracingresults.com/2019/harken-international-youth-championship/