January 17 - 23, 2016: Issue 247

 Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot win All-Girls 29er in 2016 Australian Youth Championships: Second Year in a Row

 Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot  - Photo: Lachlan Murnaghan/MurnaghanMedia

Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and Objective Australia Youth Sailors Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot won the All Girls division and secured 2nd overall in the Australian Youth Championships as part of the SPLASH Festival this week, moving up a place from the 3rd they won at last week's 29er Nationals, also part of the SPLASH Festival. The win means they are first All-Girl team in their divisions for the second year running. 

The 2015 NSW Youth Championships 420s winning team, Charlotte Griffin (MHYC) and Chelsea Connor (RPAYC) also excelled, taking the Bronze in the 420 Double Handed.

RPAYC Youth Sailors made a strong showing in the Laser 4.7 with six members of the Pittwater club getting some great competition experience among their peers.

The 2016 SPLASH ('Sail Play Live Across Sydney Harbour') Festival, encompassed the 2016 Australian 420, Zhik Australian 9er, Australian I14 (January 1st to 8th, 2016) and the Australian Youth Championships (January 9th to 14th, 2016), was hosted by  Woollahra Sailing Club and sailed on Sydney Harbour. 

The SPLASH Festival Australian Youth Championships were four days of competition, where sailors competed for their respective class Championships. The AYC is also an important qualifier for the Australian Youth Sailing Team.

The team is selected based on performances across multiple events, including the AYC, Australian class championships and Queensland Youth Week. The sailors who earn selection to the Australian Youth Sailing Team go on to represent Australia at the World Sailing Youth World Championships (formerly ISAF). Next year’s edition will be held in Oman.

Woollahra Sailing Club and the SPLASH Festival pass the torch to the Adelaide Sailing Club, who will host the 2017 Australian Youth Championship.

2016 Australian Youth Nationals Champions Announced

January 15, 2016 

Light airs and long delays threatened an early end to the 2016 Australian Youth Championships, hosted by Woollahra Sailing Club as a part of the SPLASH ('Sail Play Live Across Sydney Harbour' )Festival. The persistence of the Race Management Team and the patience of the sailors saw all but one fleet complete their full racing schedule.

The last of the four-day series, held from the 10th to 14th of January, produced fickle conditions and hot temperatures, as a predicted storm front sat off the Sydney Coast. Sailors were lucky to enjoy east-southeast breezes, as the Champions were crowned.

With a variety of conditions throughout the week, consistency was the key to success, as sailors competed not only for the national title, but the opportunity to represent Australia at the 2016 ISAF Youth World Championships, in Oman this December. The qualification series involves a three event point score that will be announced following Queensland Youth Week in July this year.

420 Double Handed

The 420 class enjoyed two races yesterday, when an easterly sea-breeze settled on Charlie Course. This allowed RO, Peter Moor to get two consecutive races underway after an initial delay. Nicholas Sharman and James Grogan went in to the day three points clear of their nearest competitor, which was enough to allow the Victorian duo to take the win.

In second place in the boys category were a cross-pacific team of Finn Gilbert (NSW) and Henry Haslett (NZ) who achieved a great result after a late decision to join together. The bronze medal went to South Australia’s Matt Meaney and Sam Magarey.

‘We’re stoked’ Sharman, skipper of Azzura was relived that he and Grogran held it together after a tough week of variable conditions ‘especially since we had a great week here last week and really wanted to back it up,’

‘Next for us is some time down time, then we’ll start training again before we head to Queensland later in the year. Selection for the Youth Worlds is what we’re after and we have one more event to go – it certainly makes us feel more confident heading in to it [youth week] with two wins under our belt. Anything can happen from here.’

In the girls category, Sophie McIntosh and Emily Summerell, representing NSW, snatched first place as they continue their fantastic form, after being crowned Australian Female Championships just last week. They outsailed their fellow all-girl crews, placing third overall in the event, the girls could finally relax, ‘we’ve been pretty stressed, it’s been tricky with different conditions each day,’ said McIntosh,

‘it’s been a huge two weeks down here at SPLASH – we had the nationals and now the Youths straight after. It’s awesome to win at home, it couldn’t be better- we’re so happy!’

The silver medal in the girls category was won by Victorian duo Laura Harding and Eleanor Grimshaw as Sydney locals Charlotte Griffin and Chelsea Connor, took the bronze medal back to their Northern Beaches home.

Bic Techno 293 Windsurfer 

Last year, Angus Calvert’s brother Jock had already secured the Championship title on the penultimate day, but Angus didn’t have the same luxury. It didn’t all go his way this week, with second placed Alex Halank of NSW and Northern Territory’s John Lynch both providing tough competition throughout the week.

Calvert completed both races on the last day, in lighter airs than they had seen throughout the week, ‘at 70kg, I’m not really designed for the Bic and had my work cut out for me in the lighter airs,’ said the Tasmanian, who hopes to follow his brothers footsteps and represent Australia at the ISAF Youth Worlds.

‘We’ve all got our strengths and I was excited to see some breeze throughout the week – sailing on the bay was just like home, it was shifty and really enjoyable,

‘Having Jock here to see me take the win was awesome, he’s been here all week.’ The pair embraced following the final race – a kodak moment that is sure to grace the Calvert mantelpiece for years to come.

The girls category was won by Courtney Schoutrop of Queensland, who will be working hard to beat the boys when Youth Week kicks off in July. Schoutrop will hope to emulate the success of fellow Queenslander, Jo Sterling who qualified Australia for the 2016 Rio Olympics last year. Second place in the girls Bic was Abbey Calvert, who sailed with a 5.8sqm sail showing great tenacity and potential for the years to come.

29er Double Handed Skiff

John Cooley and Simon Hoffman, representing the host club sailed an impressive series to take the overall win. Although it was a slow start, by their own reckoning, the recently crowned Australian 29er Champions can also add the Youth title to their impressive string of accolades. The pair experienced more pressure from their rivals than at their class championships but knew that consistency and patience would see them through with the win ‘it was tough,’ said Cooley, who credits his coach, the event patron, Mike Fletcher with the team’s development, ‘we weren’t getting the bullets we had last week, so we adjusted to focusing on keeping low scores and staying clean,’

‘With an UFD [starting penalty] we really needed our second drop, then we had a day of Nor Easterlies – we managed to turn it around and get back to business. We’re stoked heading in to Youth Week with the lead, our goal has always been the Youth Worlds qualification and we’re getting closer.’

The pair posted dominant leads of more than one and a half minutes, which Hoffman is excited by, but also weary of, ‘we had the boys [Crockett and Grimes] right on our tails, but this really gives us confidence heading in to the rest of selection – we’ve done most of the hard work, they’re close behind but I think we can do it’

Impressively, second place overall went to the Girls Champions, Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot, who challenged the boys crews all week. The pair took one race win and managed to edge out 13 year old Tom Crockett and his crew-mate Tom Grimes, who finished in third place overall, taking a silver medal in the boys category. Unfortunately for the pair, a UFD on the penultimate day saw the girls slip ahead in the overall standings but the boys category silver medal remain their own. Third place in the boys category was won by Ezra Pritchard and Tom Cunich and Queensland.

The effervescent Bryant and Wilmot took a convincing win in the girls category proving themselves as an emerging talent, which Wilmot believes is partly due to the tough lessons they learnt last year, ‘we got a bit ahead of ourselves and only worried about everyone else, we used to focus too much on the other girls, but now we just sail against the boats and not worry about who is on board – we just want to be the best.

Bryant agreed, admitting that it had been a tough but rewarding week ‘we are so exciting and we’ve come a long way since last year – if we keep smiling and keep training hard, I think we’ll be able to represent at the Youth Worlds, that’s our goal! Bring on Queensland - we are ready!

Second place in the girls category was awarded to Annabelle Davies and Hayley Clark from WA with Tasmania’s Jasmin Galbraith and Chloe Fisher taking a bronze medal, after a race win during the week.

First in Girls  Photo: MurnaghanMedia

Laser Radial Single Handed

The Laser Radial class saw the closest final day battle, with the 2015 Laser Radial Youth World Champion, Conor Nicholas trailing New South Welshman Finn Alexander by 1 point. After two tough races in frustrating conditions, Nicholas managed to overcome his rival, as the pair has provided a fantastic duel throughout the Australian Summer regattas.

‘It wasn’t my best day today,’ admitted Conor, ‘yeah bittersweet is what you could call it – I didn’t sail the way I would like to and that’s something we’ll be working on – maybe after a few days break,’

Nicholas, who is coached by Olympic 470 Gold Medallist, Belinda Stowell and Ex- Laser Radial World Champion, Tristan Brown, credited the duo for his ability to back up at this event, following on from his win at the Australian Laser Championships last week, ‘we work really closely and focus on different areas, whatever I need to get the edge and it feels like that works well for me – I’ll sit down and analyse the areas that I think need some work so that I don’t end up in this position again, the more I can take away from the events, the better.’

Nicholas who finished second at last years Australian Youth Championships, complimented his rivals, particularly Finn Alexander, who finished only three points behind him in the end, ‘he’s been awesome competition all summer, we’re always so close and pushing each other hard. It makes us all better sailors.’

Alexander of NSW took the silver medal, whilst Noah Taylor, representing ACT posted a breakthrough result as he finished in third place.

Marlena Berzins, representing the host club, won the girls title over Western Australian training partners Elyse Ainsworth and Nia Jerwood, who finished second and third respectively. Berzins was excited to have won the event, as she leads the pointscore for Youth Worlds selection, ‘it’s so exciting, I’m at home and to achieve this is amazing – I’m blown away,’ said Berzins, ‘I’ll be training hard between now and Queensland to make sure I secure the spot- training with our squad in NSW has been awesome, they have really helped me improve my sailing.’

Laser 4.7

The Laser 4.7 class provides a platform for junior sailors to compete at the AYC, allowing them to see the pathway for International Representation from a young age, gaining experience and contact with their role models along the way. Rome Featherstone of WA took the overall win from club-mate Hayden Coote, as Tasmania’s William Sargent finished third. Japan’s Shione Suganuma won the girls event with Hailey Johnston of WA taking the silver medal and Australian Championship. Morgan Stewart of Victoria finished third.

RPAYC Sailors who also participated in Laser 4.7:  Nathan Bryant, Antony Hawke, Boston Cortis, Jarrah Sheppard, Will McMillan, and Logan Cortis.

Hobie 16 Multihull

Lachie White and Ethan White of Great Lakes Sailing Club in NSW won the Hobie 16 event on the penultimate day, allowing the team to relax on the final day of racing. The pair are not related, but certainly share similar characteristics; an obvious love of sailing, cat racing and competition. They will return to Sydney in just under a month for the Formula 18 National Championships, hoping their experience this week will give them a solid result. In second place were Kyle Fortier and Bonnie Butler of NSW, proving themselves as strong light air contenders. Rounding out a NSW trifecta were Will McKenzie and Pat Butler in third place.

Awarding the Winners

The awards night and closing ceremony saw the winners crowned and medals presented by event patron, Michael Fletcher. ‘Fletch’ as he is affectionately known coached many of the event medallists. The patron encouraged sailors to follow their dreams, be kind to their parents and build themselves not only as fantastic sailors but fantastic human beings – the future of our sport.

Yachting Australia President Matt Allen and Vice President, Sarah Kenny were present to award prizes and congratulate winners, including Laser 4.7 sailor Daisy Lang who was awarded The Nick Peate Memorial Trophy for her resilience and determination on the race course.

Also present were the 2015 Australian Youth Sailing Team who have recently returned from the ISAF Youth World Championships in Malaysia. The team was awarded with the Nations Trophy, which goes to the country that has achieved the highest combined point-score based on top ten race results. Australia last won the trophy in 2007 and the team’s success was inspiring for all – young and young at heart.

2015 Australian Youth Sailing Team - PBSC's and RPAYC's Sophie Renouf and Shaun Connor Photo: MurnaghanMedia

Matt Allen also awarded the sailors efforts consistency across the Australian Youth Circuit, also acknowledged the Youth Grand Prix Champions and runners up. The coveted ‘Champion State’ trophy was awarded to New South Wales with Victoria announced as the runners up.

The predicted Southerly front hit Sydney as the presentation got underway. Although the rain fell, it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the competitors, who embraced the carnival atmosphere. The ‘Woollahra Wonderland’ had a photo booth, food trucks and a DJ for entertainment – if the sun came out, there would’ve been jumping castles and mechanical surfboards too! For that, you’ll have to wait until the next time SPLASH and Woollahra host an edition of the AYC.

Woollahra Sailing Club hosted the 2016 Australian Youth Sailing Championship as apart of their SPLASH Festival, providing an event ‘for the sailors’. PRO Jeremy Atkinson, RO Peter Moor and RO Robert Lowndes provided a fantastic platform for racing throughout the event and the Jury team, lead by John Middleton ensured fair racing for all competitors.

‘This was an event for the kids - everything was planned around them, from the event gift to the social functions – it was to provide the competitors the best experience possible. The smiles on faces show us that it has been a fantastic success – even though the weather wasn’t perfect at times, it was still a great week. We have a small team from an organisational point of view, but once you include the volunteers, staff, race committees and management, the team grows pretty quickly! Everyone involved made it a special week and we hope everyone remembers the event and their time at SPLASH and the AYC fondly,’ commented Adam South, Woollahra Sailing Club General Manager.

Woollahra Sailing Club and the SPLASH Festival pass the torch to the Adelaide Sailing Club, who will host the 2017 Australian Youth Championship.


The AYC 2016 is hosted by Woollahra Sailing Club as apart of their SPLASH ('Sail Play Live Across Sydney Harbour' )Festival. With over 162 boat and 230 competitors, the AYC is the most prestigious youth sailing regatta within the Asia-Pacific region. The event attracts sailors from around the world and this year hosts sailors from Japan and New Zealand. Racing concluded on the 14th of January, where the 2016 Australian Youth Champions were awarded and the event patron, Michael Fletcher officially closed the event.

2016 Australian Youth Championships results are available here

The Splash Festival 2016 - Australian Youth Championships ran January 9, 2016 - January 14, 2016

Australian I14 / 420 / 29er Championships At SPLASH 2016

January 9, 2916

The 2016 Australian 9er, 420 and I14 National Championships drew to a close yesterday, as the SPLASH Festival hits the halfway point. Woollahra Sailing Club hosted 220 sailors, across five classes, from the 1st to 8th of January with a disrupted racing schedule due to disruptive weather patterns.

Each class experienced difficult conditions throughout the week, including torrential rain and excessive winds, which forced the cancellation of racing on the penultimate day. This put pressure on the PROs, Peter Moor (Charlie Course) and Robert Lowndes (Delta Course) to ensure racing went ahead on the last day. Both PROs elected to bring the start time forward leaving the whole day open for potential racing.

Like a Hollywood cliché, the sun came out for the final day of racing, as sailors were treated to typical summer conditions. A morning Westerly breeze faded around 10.30am, as both courses postponed racing. With the I14s without a completed series and a below average amount of races for the 49ers and 420s, an increasing East-South Easterly wind filtered down the harbour saving racing and Sydney’s reputation. It was one of the most steady and consistent days of the week, providing sailors an opportunity to stretch their legs as the afternoon wore on.

Interestingly, in every class, the winners from the first day maintained their positions throughout the week before being crowned winners at the completion of the racing schedule. Further to that, each of the regatta leaders (eventual winners) suffered their worst form on the last day. With such large point leads the slip in form didn’t effect their positions, but instead allowed learning opportunities ahead of further regattas this year.

The 49er class were the first to return to the club after racing and the lighter airs had caught a few sailors off guard, ‘we didn’t have a great day, it was a lot lighter and we were pretty worried about how the day was turning out’ said David Gilmour, the newly crowned Australian 49er Champion.

‘As a new crew there are definently areas we need to work on, and this is one of them,’ he said about his team work with new crew, Lewis Brake of Queensland, ‘we’re taking away a lot from this event… we’re stoked to take the win but we do have work to do, the boys gave us a scare today.’

Joel Turner and Tom Signato took two bullets throughout the week and sailed consistently against a strong fleet, taking second place. Local, Harry Price and crewmate, Harry Morton proved their potential taking the bronze medal.

The 49erFX Olympic Qualification is ongoing and if this week’s performance is anything to go by, the selection committee have a tough decision to make. The early dominance of Olivia Price and Eliza Solly set them up for their eventual regatta win. However, the second placed crew of Tess Lloyd and Caitlin Elks made their presence clear when they recorded three wins from three races on the fourth day. In third, were youth competitors, Hayden Brown and Mackenzie Bird who will eventually switch to the more powerful men’s 49er Olympic class boat, which share a common hull with the 49erFX class.

Earlier in the week, John Cooley and Simon Hoffman suggested they would were here to win- no less. The pair sailed their most impressive regatta to date, only dropping three races throughout the week, leaving them on an overall score of 22, having remained undefeated until the last day of the event. They posted their worst scores of the week (solid results by ‘normal’ standards) before taking the last race win of the regatta.

In second place were 13-year-old Tom Crockett and his crew, Tom Grimes who sailed a fantastic regatta – only one placing outside of the 10 due to an OCS in Race 13. Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot placed third overall, thirty points clear of the fourth placed team, which earned them first place in the all-girl division. The placing allows Bryant and Wilmot, the ‘Smiling Assassins’, a jump-start on the Australian Youth Team Selection point score, which regatta winners Cooley and Hoffman also achieved.


Over on Delta course, the 420s saw multiple race winners throughout the week, but it was the consistency of Simon Grogan and Nicholas Sharman that allowed them to outshine their competitors. Grogan and Sharman dually representing Mornington and Sandringham Yacht Clubs’ are looking towards Australian Youth Team Selection and as this week’s race wins saw leads spanning several minutes, there is potential for them to be at the top of the podium again.

In second place were 2015 Sail Sydney Champions, Josh Berry and Henry Haslett who weren’t able to re-produce the form they showed in December. Victoria continued to set the benchmark, with Nick Joel and Hugo Llewelyn taking third place. Not only were Sophie McIntosh and Emily Summerell the best-placed NSW team in fourth place, but also the first-placed all-girl team. Taking away plenty of perpetual trophies and the lead in the Australian Youth Sailing Team selection point score.

The I14s were certainly the most relaxed class of the week, enjoying the regatta atmosphere and racing, regardless of the weather. David Hayter and Trent Neighbour lead from the start aboard AUS 666, overcoming the defending Champions Brad Devine and Ian Furlong. Hayter and Neighbour’s confidence began to build after two wins on the first day, which set them up nicely for the week of racing. Western Australians’ Devine and Furlong had to settle for second place, with Chris Vaughn and Matt Balmer head back to Victoria, with bronze medals.

The first of the SPLASH Festival events drew to a close last night, as prizes were awarded at an ‘all-in’ presentation. Woollahra Sailing Club and the SPLASH Festival staff organised a ‘Night on the Green’, with a DJ, buffet dinner and relaxed evening on the club grounds. It was fantastic to see all of the sailors celebrate together, regardless of the class they race, the camaraderie is fitting with the spirit of sailing – inclusivity and respect above all.

The SPLASH Festival continues with the Australian Youth Championships invitation race tomorrow, the 10th of January with racing scheduled until the 14th of January 2016. The opening day will be followed by four days of competition, where sailors compete for their respective class Championships. The AYC is also an important qualifier for the Australian Youth Sailing Team.

The team is selected based on performances across multiple events, including the AYC, Australian class championships and Queensland Youth Week. The sailors who earn selection to the Australian Youth Sailing Team go on to represent Australia at the World Sailing Youth World Championships (formerly ISAF). Next year’s edition will be held in Oman.

Reports by Alexandra South/ SPLASH Media 

 Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot  - Photo: Lachlan Murnaghan/MurnaghanMedia