The partnership between Youth World Championship silver medallists Shannon and Jayden Dalton will be put on ice for the foreseeable future as Shannon prepares to sail with a new crew at the upcoming Australian Youth Championship, which starts on January 11 at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Brisbane.
Fresh from their second placing in the Nacra 15 at the Worlds in China, Shannon will team with club mate Daniel Brown because Jayden is over the permitted age to compete at the event. Winning the nationals would qualify Dalton for next year’s Youth World Championship and Youth Olympic Games, meaning the brother and sister pairing would come to an end for now.
“I haven’t really thought about the long term goal of sailing with Jayden,” Shannon said. “I’m only 15 and want to keep sailing the Nacra 15. I’m too small to go into the bigger boat. So, I think we’ll split paths now and maybe join up again later on.
“It’s a bit disappointing but I’m going to go forward with a new crew. Dan’s been around our club, South of Perth Yacht Club, sailing boats. He was available and he asked to sail with me.
“Because we haven’t sailed together for very long, we’re both just trying to get as much training in as possible, so we’ll stay pretty busy. We’ll have a little rest over Christmas but not much.”
Shannon said 18-year-old Jayden, an apprentice auto-electrician, would likely try out new boats and “hopefully get a ride on a Nacra 17”.
Whether or not they join again, the Daltons have plenty to be proud of after claiming a silver medal, which added to Australia’s haul of a gold and bronze, at the Worlds. They came extremely close to winning the gold medal but were pipped at the post by the team from Switzerland.
“Obviously silver’s still amazing. But we were pretty gutted that we got beaten with a countback,” Shannon said.
“It came down to the last race and us and I think the other team were both too busy worrying about each other. They caught up a few boats and some more boats passed us and it came down to that last bit where we just couldn’t get that extra boat in front.”
Despite coming so close to winning, Shannon said being on the podium for Australia “felt amazing”.
“I feel really proud of what we did,” she said. “There were heaps of people there, lots of people taking photos. We’ve had a lot of people congratulating us on our achievements, which has been nice.”
Dalton and Brown are among 11 entries so far in the Nacra 15 class and 156 overall at the Nationals, including Western Australia’s Laser Radial World Championship bronze medallist Zac Littlewood.
– Australian Sailing