Team Australia Challenge – The Squads

Following on from the announcement last week on the squad selection for the Team Australia Challenge here’s a little bio on each of the sailors.

Finn Alexander – NSW

TAC Finn Alexander

Finn competes in the ILCA class and is currently 9th on the Men’s World Rankings.

His first outing winning the Youth World Championships in 2016 has been followed by performances across local and European championships and included being named Australian Youth Sailor of the Year in 2017. He also competes in yachting team events and in 2020 was named with the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron Team of the Year.

In 2022 he was tactician on the MC38 Season Champion winning yacht and has had podium wins in tactical and strategy positions on Farr 40’s and with the Australian Match Racing National Championships coming 2nd in 2019. He is currently sailing with the Australian Olympic team aiming for Paris and scored a 10th in the Men’s European Championships ILCA class and 2nd at the Europa Cup in Italy in 2023.

Tash Bryant – NSW

TAC Tash Bryant

Tash has competed at the highest levels of IQfoil and the 49er FX, initially completing an Olympic campaign in the 49FX class followed by windsurfing. She was 29er Youth World Champion in 2016 and Australian Female Sailor of the Year in 2017. She qualified Australia for a place in 2020 Olympics in 49erFX. At 22 years old she is now competing on the Australian SailGP team.

She is a passionate foiler across multiple water sports, including winging and prone foiling and coaches female sailing while also studying a Bachelor of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering.

Lucy Copeland – NSW

TAC Lucy Copeland

Lucy was selected in 2012 and 2013 on the Australian Youth Sailing Team to compete at Youth Worlds in Catamaran Class winning silver at both events. When the Nacra 17 was announced as the Olympic Catamaran Lucy stepped into the class as a youth team. In 2016 she earned selection to the Australian Sailing Squad and has been competing on the Olympic circuit since, finishing a best of 5th at the Miami World Cup event. 

In 2020 she was selected for the RSYS Youth America’s Cup Team for Australia but unfortunately the event was cancelled due to COVID. Since 2022 she has been part of the Australian SailGP team in a strategy role scoring two seconds and a first place in Season 3 events. 

Nina Curtis – NSW

TAC Nina Curtis

London 2012 Olympic silver medallist, Nina has pursued elite level, threshold breaking sailing achievements including participating on the third place winning Team Brunel Volvo Ocean Race in 2017/18 and being the first female Season Champion in Sail GP on the Team Australia Season 2 win.

She was a member of the World Sailing Rolex ‘team of the year’ win in 2022 and named NSW/ACT Female Sailor of the Year in 2022.

Early in her career Nina shone on podiums taking 1st at the ISAF World Cup (Melbourne) in 2013 and taking podium spots in World Cups throughout 2015 and 2016. Her trophy cabinet boasts gold silver and bronze medals from ISAF Match Racing World Championships and World Cups.

Nina was named Australian Female Sailor of the year in 2010 and 2012. She went on to campaign the 49er FX winning a third in the 2016 World Cup. She has also crewed numerous ocean races with great success and continues to sail on SailGP Team Australia.

Lisa Darmanin – NSW

TAC Lisa Darmanin

Lisa has been an Australian Sailing Team representative since 2013. She won a Silver Medal in the Nacra 17 class at the Rio 2016 Olympics and finished 5th at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Throughout her career, Lisa has consistently delivered outstanding results at World Championships in the Nacra class. Between 2014 and 2020, she clinched a total of 4 World Championships medals. 

Lisa was awarded Australian Female Sailor of the Year in 2015, 2016, and 2020 and UNSW Female Athlete of the Year in 2011, as well as the Ben Lexcen Scholarship from 2011 to 2013.

Beyond her competitive pursuits, Lisa is a commentator and presenter for sailing on the international stage, sharing her insights and passion for the sport with a global audience.

Miles Davey – NSW

TAC Miles Davey

Miles was twice named Australian youth national champion in the 29er class in 2017 and 2018, also competing at international events and being named Australian National Champion in the class in 2017. Notably attending 2x Youth Worlds winning a bronze medal in 2018 in Texas Corpus Christi.

In his more recent 49er campaign, he was third at Sail Sydney and competed in European and world championships and ranked highly at the Junior Worlds at Lake Como in 2022. His best achievement to date in the 49er class was finishing 13th at the 2021 Worlds in Oman.

He has campaigned a NACRA 17, crewed the 49er and enjoyed sailing/racing his moth in 2020. He also races 18ft skiffs becoming the Super Cup winner in 2023 and finishing 8th at the JJ Gilitan worlds in 2023 on Balmain private.

Jack Ferguson – NSW

TAC Jack Ferguson

Jack Ferguson is a member of the Australian Sailing 49er Futures Squad and is the current 49er Junior World Champion. He has won 5 National Championships across the Optimist, International 420 and Waszp classes. He currently campaigns in the Moth class as the Junior National Champion and is a member of the Enzedder 69F team.

In 2021 he was named Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron Yachtsman of the Year and has held a NSW Institute of Sport Individual Performance scholarship since 2019.

Evie Haseldine – NSW

TAC Evie Haseldine

Evie sailed at a national level from age 11, taking to the water in the Flying 11, Eliot 7s, Sabots and 29er class. She started her elite sailing journey in the mixed youth Catamaran class, the Nacra 15 winning at National Championships and the Australian Youth Championships and qualifying to represent Australia at the World Youth Championships and the Youth Olympic Games.

Throughout high school Evie juggled intensive sailing commitments competing internationally at 5 regattas, attaining podium results. She also began the Development Match Racing training with the CYCA Youth Academy.

After joining the Nacra 17 Fast Track Program with the Australian Sailing Team in 2021 she has now joined Olivia Price on an Olympic Campaign for Paris 2024 in the 49er FX class. The pair have been successful with podium results including a bronze at the World Championships in 2023. Evie is currently a finalist for Australian Youth Sailor of the Year.

Tom Needham – Qld

TAC Tom Needham

Tom is a member of the Australian Sailing Squad campaigning for the Paris Olympics as a helm in the 49er class He is currently ranked 8th in the world in the class. He was named Queensland Youth Sailor of the Year in 2018 and Open Male Sailor of the Year in 2022. Tom competed in World championships scoring 2nd place in Sail Sydney in 2019 which he topped with a first place in 2021. During 2022 and 2023 he has competed highly at the North American Championships and on 49er European and World Championships and the Oceanic Wing Foil Championships. In 2023 he placed 2nd at the Sailing World Cup Netherlands.

He currently works as a hydraulic engineer for SailGP and is completing a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering degree at the University of Queensland.

Max Paul – NSW

TAC Max Paul

Max is a current member of the Australian Sailing Squad and is currently placed 2nd in the World 49er rankings and is also placed on the World Match Racing Rankings.

This year he has placed 2nd in the 49er Sailing World Cup Series and first place in the Sail Melbourne International 49er Regatta. He also scored 2nd in the Hardy Cup Youth International Match Racing Regatta and top ten in other racing including Australian 18ft Skiff National Championship.

Last year he similarly had strong international results including 2nd at the 49er u23 World Championships and won the Sail Sydney International 49er Regatta.                                  

Max was named 29er Australian National Champion in 2018 and 2019, the same years he came 2nd in the Open World Championships (2018) and 3rd in the World Sailing Youth World Championships (2019).

Olivia Price – NSW

TAC Olivia price

Olivia started competing on the world sailing stage aged 16, and at 18 skippered the win for the Silver Medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Olivia became the youngest female sailor ever to win an Olympic Medal.

Olivia then campaigned in the 49erFX Olympic Skiff Class, and in her first year achieved 3 podiums in the brand-new class. In 2015 she achieved a Bronze Medal at the Palma Euro Cup.

Olivia challenged female sailing boundaries, competing in the high powered SuperFoiler Grand Prix circuit as the only female in the league and in 2022, after a coaching stint and study hiatus, she is aiming again for podium at the Paris 2024 Olympics. She is a member of the Australian Sailing Team campaigning successfully in the 49er FX, winning a bronze at the Allianze Regatta last year after just 6 months with crew mate Evie Haseldine, and a recent bronze medal at the World Championships in The Hague, booking Australia a quota spot at the Paris Olympics.

Olivia has been a dedicated coach, particularly nurturing next generation female sailors and has excelled as a sailing commentator and broadcaster.

George Richardson – NSW

TAC George Richardson

Starting out as a member of the NSW Youth Sailing Team, George won the Centerport International Youth Match Racing Regatta. He crewed on 29er’s, Flying 11’s and 13ft skiffs. He has won titles in both Match Racing and Fleet Racing at the Australian National Titles and the Hardy Cup. He has also been a successful podium winning crew member in a number of offshore races as well as made the Match Racing World Tour Final and came 3rd overall in the American Grand Slam series.

George crews in the Etchell class, winning the Australian National Etchells Championship in 2022 as well as winning the Australian Gold Cup crewing on TP52 Gwelio, on which he also scored a second place in the 2022/23 Rolex Sydney to Hobart race.

Harry Smith – NSW

TAC Harry Smith

Harry is a highly competitive sailor and skilled rigger who has been aboard race yachts such as maxi Andoo Comanche for a slew of Line Honours and handicap wins in 2022 and 2023 as well as wins and podiums on Maxi 72’s, TP 52’s, McConaghy 38’s and J70’s over the course of his professional journey. Early in his career he competed at a National and World level in the Etchell class whilst also taking out Queensland combined schools’ competitions a number of times. 

Mara Stransky – Qld

TAC Mara Stransky

Mara is on the Australian Sailing Team campaigning for the Paris Olympics as an ILCA 6 sailor and this year featured highly in the European and World Championships and French Olympic Week. She had similar top ten spots across international competitions from 2019 to 2022 including 4that the Sailing World Cup and first place at Keil Week last year.

After being named Queensland Female Sailor of the Year annually from 2018 to 2023 Mara was named Australian Female Sailor of the Year in 2022, a title she is again a finalist for in 2023.

She has been Australian Female Laser Radial National Champion in 2019, 20, 21 and 2023. 

Coming through the Queensland Academy of Sport Sailing Program she was part of the Australian Tokyo 2020 Olympic Team. Apart from her ILCA sailing she is a dedicated team sailor crewing 23 international regattas aboard a 50ft performance catamaran plus 10 0ffshore races.

Cole Tapper NSW

TAC Cole Tapper

Cole is focussed on the 2023 World Youth Match Racing Championships with a goal to win a World Championship for Australia and better his current World Match Racing Open Ranking of 20 – the highest ranked Australian.

As a school student he won the NSW and Australian Optimist Teams Racing Championships and was first several times in NSW and Australian Schools Teams Racing Championships. In fleet racing Cole has had podiums in the NACRA 15 and 420 class including first places in the New Zealand Nationals and 2018 U17 Junior European Championships.

In Match Racing, he has won the NSW and Australian Youth Championships, the Bolle Youth International and scored 3rd at the World Match Racing Tour US Grand Slam. He gained 9th on the Overall World Match Racing Leaderboard for 2022.

Zoe Thomson – WA

TAC Zoe Thomson

Zoe has been a member of the Australian Sailing Team since 2018 sailing the ILCA class, coming through a competitive youth sailing career that saw her Youth World Champion in 2016 and Australian Champion in Open Skiff, Laser 4.7, Laser Radial, National 125.

She was named West Australian female sailor of the year in 2019,2021,2022 and 2023 and is an Australian Institute of Sport ‘Podium Level Athlete’. This year she came second at the Palma World Cup and featured highly in the European Championships in 2022 and 2023 and the World Championships in Oman in 2022. She is a finalist for Australian Female of the Year 2023.

Annie Wilmot – NSW

TAC Annie Wilmot

Annie has an impressive track record of securing world titles and multiple Australian titles. Annie is a member of the Australian Sailing Squad, currently campaigning for 2024 Paris Olympics in the 49er FX class.

Last year she placed 4th at the Allianz Regatta World Cup and achieved 16th at the World Championships in 2022. She won Sail Sydney in 2021 and Sail Melbourne in 2022. In 2018 she rated 11th at the ISAF World Championship which secured a quota spot for Australia for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

In her youth career Annie was named Youth World Champion in the 29er class in 2016 and secured multiple first-place titles, including All Female Australian National, Australian Youth, New Zealand National and German National Champion in the same year. Annie was named Australian Female Sailor of the Year in 2017 and followed with a win in the U23 World Championship in 2018 and 2020.

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JPK 11.80 July 2024