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Yachting NSW Youth Championships at Georges River 16ft Skiff SC - Day 1

by Lisa Ratcliff 3 Oct 2015 11:42 BST 3-5 October 2015

Yachting NSW Youth Championships tough opening schedule ahead of light forecast

Grand Final weekend in Sydney on a perfect holiday long weekend. Out on Botany Bay 300 plus young sailors aged six to 18 enjoyed gentle breezes and flat water sailing across four courses set up between Ramsgate beach and Kurnell on day one of the annual Yachting NSW Youth Championships.

Georges River Sailing Club is once again hosting the three-day series for multiple youth classes and crews have travelled with family and coaches from Tasmania, Queensland, Victoria and the ACT to give the state title a nudge, and for the less experienced it's a chance to learn and refine competition fundamentals.

Back at GRSC this afternoon NSW Optimist Association president Seamus Campbell said, "We had 61 in Open fleet and the tide really sorted them out, and made for some interesting top mark roundings. Champions like Archie [Cropley] and Otto [Henry] were able to work through the tide and shifty conditions."

Woollahra Sailing Club is dominating early Open Optimist results, Cropley on Archernator 3.1 and Henry on Chippa leading the scoresheet in that order after results from three of four races were tallied up. Otto finished 5th at the Optimist World Championship in Poland in September, by far the best result for an Aussie at a world championship given the previous best placing was outside the top 50.

In the Intermediate Opti group, Pearl Toomey, who only graduated from Green fleet (beginner) at the start of the year, found herself at the front of the pack in race one and went on to take the bullet. The Middle Harbour Yacht Club sailor finished ninth overall after three races and Campbell says she's got the family pedigree and talent to be one to look out for in the future.

For the Optimist Green fleet of 18, including the regatta's youngest competitor, six year old Jago Tucker on Tuckerbox, today's gentle conditions were ideal and the coaches were delighted with their progress.

A morning 8 knot ENE wind swung marginally to the NE and built to 10 knots during the afternoon - the forecast 20+ knot sea breeze a definite no show. Given the light forecast for the next two days, the race committee opted for a tough four race opening session for every class other than the Laser 4.7s, to record as many early results as possible.

Tasmanian Flying 11 pair of William Wallis and Lara Racape on Flying Colours finished four races with the lowest number of points, which puts them in the lead from a second Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania team, Brendan Crisp and Daniel Maree on Wedgewood.

The top three crews in the 420 division are level-pegged on eight points, a countback giving the Victorians Nick Joel and Hugo Llewelyn on Hooligan the narrowest edge over Charlotte Griffin and Chelsea Connor (MHYC/RPAYC) and their boat, Crush.

Other than the growl of planes coming and going from Sydney Airport, the occasional roar of jet skis and the quiet hum of outboard motors from race management vessels and parents in RIBs moving around the courses, Botany Bay was pretty quiet. There was the odd verbal exchange and bumping of boats at the mark roundings, but plenty of times "sorry" could be heard when polite youngsters apologised for getting in their competitors' way.

The forecast for Botany Bay for Sunday October 10, 2015 is north westerly winds 10-15 knots tending westerly in the middle of the day then becoming variable. Racing is due to commence from 1100hrs.

The state youth championship is run annually under the auspices of Yachting NSW, a not for profit organisation responsible for the administration, promotion and advancement of the sport of sailing throughout the state. Supporting sponsors include; the NSW Government, Nautilus Marine Boat Insurance, Gill Marine Technical Clothing, Steve Jarvin Motors, Tohatsu Outboards, Lejen Marine and Sydney Harbour Boat Storage.

Provisional results can be found here.