Strong winds push upper limits at Australian Youth Championships

Strong winds provided exciting conditions on the first day of racing at the 2020 Australian Youth Championships at Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club (SSCBC) on Melbourne's Port Phillip today, with 22 to 25 knot south-westerly winds gusting 30 awaited competitors.

With international boats making up one sixth of the 230-strong fleet, conditions came as a bit of a shock to some sailors. A visiting 29er team from Singapore noted that these were the most difficult conditions they had ever sailed in: “In Singapore, we don’t get wind above 12 knots,” skipper Faith Hailey Toh said. “It was really scary.”

Winds were at the upper limit for the Techno 293 and Techno 293 Plus fleets. The majority of both chose to retire with only five of the 14 boards in the Techno 293 and six of the 13 in the Techno 293 Plus completing both races.

After day one of racing, the Techno 293 Boys is led by William Mcaullay (WA) and the Girl's is led by Jaiya Marns Morris (WA) (sixth overall). The Techno 293 Plus Boys is being led by Grae Morris (WA), with Amelia Quinlan (NSW) (sixth overall) in charge of the Girls.

New Zealanders Mason Mulcahy and Andre Van Dam are leading the 420 Boys on countback, ahead of local sailors Linus Talacko and Lachie Grogan (VIC) in second.

“It was really breezy today, but we are feeling really good going into this regatta after the Nationals,” Andre said after racing.

It was a tough day for recently crowned 420 national champions, Daniel Links and Jack Ferguson (NSW). They won the first two races, but after getting a bad start and capsizing, finished the third race in 10th. Back on shore they were scratched from the second race after a protest involving an incident on the start line.

Bridget Conrad and India Gilbert (NSW) are leading the 420 Girls (10th overall) followed by Amelia Angus and Rebecca Hume (NZL) in second (12th overall). Current national champions and local sailors, Anna Cripsey and Chloe Harper (VIC), are in third Girls (15th overall).

Interstate combo team Georgia Payne (WA) and Nathan Bryant (NSW) ruled the Nacra 15 class with three bullets.

“On days like this in the Nacra there is a lot of hanging on and making sure you don’t nosedive,” Nathan said. “We love a bit of breeze though. These are definitely our conditions.” Georgia added.

Second overall are Tom Dawson and Sarah Hoffman (NSW), who are four points behind the leaders.

Both Laser fleets provided close racing with Laser Radial Boys led by Stefan Elliott-Shircore (WA), who is just one point ahead of Sofiane Karim (FRA).

Leading the Laser Radial Girls is Mina Ferguson (NSW) (14th overall). Singaporean sailor Jonathan Lio leads the Laser 4.7 followed by Toby Coote (WA) in second and Laser 4.7 Girls leader Kristen Wadley (QLD) is third overall.

Recent National Champions in the 29er Boys, Ethan Galbraith/Charles Zeeman (TAS) are top of the leader board overall with a first and second place today. In the 29er Girls, Zoe Dransfield and Madeleine Mcleay (NSW) are leading the Girl’s fleet (15 overall).

Lighter winds are forecast for tomorrow. “Everyone has had their big workout today,” Ben Fels, SSCBC Sailing Manager commented. “We’re looking forward to easier conditions for the rest of the regatta.”


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