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Future sailing Olympians in Metung for 2023 Australian 420 Championship

by Jeanette Severs 22 Dec 2022 05:53 GMT 2-6 January 2023
Australian 420 Championship © Down Under Sail

Over the first week of January, Metung will play host to some of Australia's top youth sailors when the 2023 Australian 420 Championship is hosted by Metung Yacht Club.

From January 2-6, the Gippsland Lakes will come alive with the brightly coloured sails of this international youth class, that has been the boat of choice for many of Australia's up and coming Olympic, America's Cup and round the world sailors.

Typically sailed by teenagers ranging from 13-19, the 420 boat is 4.2 metres long and features three sails - including a brightly coloured spinnaker. Competitors will flock to Metung from as far afield as Adelaide and Sydney, with fast, close racing predicted.

Former national champions from Victoria, James Jackson and Harrison Chapman will come up against the current NSW Champions, brothers Benedict and Spencer McKay; and current National Champion, Carter Baker from Adelaide who has teamed up with Victoria's Matt Goss.

In the race for the female championship, last year's runners-up Hanako Tomoshima and Grace Morrow from NSW are the hot favourites, having won a string of regattas in recent months. However, Victoria's own Olivia Cameron and Lilly Fogarty will also be favourites to win the championship.

Metung teenagers, Wayne Smith (16) and Charlie Edwards (15), have stepped up to the 420 class this year, with a lot of experience in sailing Etchells. Both lads sailed as crew on Etchells in the National Championship earlier this year, and regularly as part of Metung Yacht Club's regular sailing contests.

Wayne is the Metung Yacht Club Junior Squad Champion 2019/2020 and 2021/2022, and crewed on the MYC Senior Club Champion Etchell boat, Quandong.

Charlie also crewed on a VX One in the Southern States Regatta held at Metung at the end of October 2022.

Wayne and Charlie have also skippered International Cadets.

The 420 is an international youth performance pathways class, with many of the 420 sailors graduating to the Olympic 470 Class, where Australia has won six Gold medals and a Silver over the last five Olympic Games. So for these young sailors, Metung may well be the place where future dreams are made as they battle it out for the national title.

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