USA contingent in Australia for Match Racing Champs

Published on November 27th, 2017

Australia’s premier match racing event, the Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship, will take centre stage on beautiful Sydney Harbour once again with the largest field of teams to ever compete for the ‘Joy Ride’ perpetual trophy making the journey to Sydney for this year’s event.

Hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, home to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, fifteen teams from seven countries will take part in this World Sailing Grade 2 match race from Tuesday, November 28 through to Friday, December 1.

Featuring the current Youth Match Racing World Champion, six teams ranked inside the top 50 by World Sailing and a further three teams ranked inside the top 100, it is anyone’s guess as to who will take out this year’s title with the winner receiving an invitation to Long Beach Yacht Club’s 2018 Ficker Cup Grade 2, and World Match Racing Tour qualifying event.

This highly competitive youth match racing regatta, which is now a well-established and internationally recognised event, will see more than half of this year’s competitors traveling from overseas. A record three teams will travel from the United States of America with other entrants from Japan, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia taking part.

There is no doubt that the strongest contender for this year’s event will once again come from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia with current Youth Match Racing World Champion, Harry Price. The World Number 4 and two-time event winner will potentially be competing in his final youth match racing event as his focus shifts to the World Match Racing Tour for 2018 after finishing 5th in his first season in 2017.

The host yacht club will have two other entries with James Hodgson ranked 66th and Tom Grimes, who won an invitation after winning the 2017 Sharp Australian Youth Match Racing National Championship in September. Other Australian entries include World Number 16, Will Boulden (RFBYC), and Clare Costanzo (RPAYC).

The biggest challenge to Price’s triple crown will come from New Zealand with World Number 14, George Anyon (RNZYS) returning for his fourth Musto. He will be joined by Zoe Bennett from Wellington as the kiwi contingent. Leonard Takahashi, representing Japan and ranked 43rd, will have a strong kiwi influence onboard, having trained alongside Anyon at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron for the past three years.

Jelmer Van Beek and his Team Dutch Wave have travelled down-under again for this year’s event. Now ranked 42nd in the world, Van Beek will be looking for a much stronger performance after finishing 8th in 2016. Cercle Nautique Caledonian will also return to the event with Eliott Quintin representing the New Caledonian yacht club.

For the first time, Sweden will be represented by Team Bergqvist Match Race led by Johanna Bergqvist. Bergqvist will be one of two all-female teams in this year’s event having also competed in the Youth Match Racing World Championship earlier this year.

The United States of America has the largest international fleet in this year’s event with three teams traveling from California. Balboa Yacht Club will have two entries in this year’s event with Porter Killian returning, joined by David Wood. Sidney Gathrid, from Del Rey Yacht Club, will complete the U.S line-up.

The regatta will be sailed from Rushcutters Bay on Sydney Harbour in the CYCA’s fleet of Elliott 7s. The event will start on Tuesday November 28 with a qualifying round robin series scheduled, before knockout stages start on Thursday November 30 with Finals on Friday December 1.

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Source: Ross Macdonald, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia

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