the 2023 Harken International Youth Match Racing championship on Pittwater won by RSYS's Zac West
Congratulations to Zac West with his team Jameson Prescott, James Hayhoe, Emily Keg, Brooke Wilson, (RSYS), 29th Champion of the HARKEN International Youth Match Racing Championship 2023.
In a thrilling final between Ben Tylecote from GBR representing Rutland Sailing Club and Zac West from AUS representing the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, West took the first 2 wins in a best-of-five finals showdown. Tylecote returned with true determination in a neck-and-neck race to take race 3. Race 4 had both teams switching positions, West with a 2-point lead only needed 1 more race win to take the championship. Every decision counted. West inched ahead to take the win and the celebrations started!
The HARKEN International Youth Match Racing Championship is the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s (RPAYC) most prestigious youth sailing event, which brings together talented youth sailors from around the world, for 4 days of hotly contested Match Racing. The event provides a platform for aspiring sailors to showcase their skills and engage in a high-level competition.
Competitors started arriving at RPAYC on Monday 4 December to partake in on water practice sessions followed by the Official Event Welcome.
Racing commenced Tuesday and ran until Friday 8 December on Pittwater, NSW.
At the end of the first day of racing, with 9 flights completed, RPAYC’s team of Daniel Kemp (skipper), Isabella Holdsworth, William Hough, Lachlan Wallace and Charlie Verity were top of the leaderboard. The teams from Rutland Sailing Club (Great Britain) and Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (AUS) were in joint 2nd place with the rest of the competition spread out among the remaining places.
Experienced Race Officer, Ted Anderson, commended sailors for their conduct during the first day of competition, “The Crews have excelled and are really well behaved, both on and off the water, which made Race Management that much easier for our team”.
Leading into day 2, the course was set at the top of Morning Bay, and the afternoon continued to pump a Southerly down Pittwater, that had the start of racing in 14knts before dropping slightly by midday, averaging 9-11 knots.
The southerly tested boat handling skills, especially with kites hoisted when screaming in to round the gate marks, with some teams using their spinnakers as sea drogues.
Round Robin 1 finished with 4 teams on 7 wins heading into Round Robin 2. At the close of racing Ben Tylecote from Rutland Sailing Club, UK, was the stand out leader. Tylecote and his crew achieved 12 wins from 14 matches.
Round Robin 2 would be wrapped up on Day 3 with the top four Skippers hoping to qualify for the Stage 3-Semi Finals.
With a rich sailing history and stunning natural beauty, Pittwater served as the perfect backdrop for the first 2 days of racing in the 2023 HARKEN International Youth Match Racing Championship. The competition has seen some of the world's most promising young sailors go head-to-head, pushing the boundaries of their abilities as they compete for glory.
"We are thrilled with how the racing has been these past couple of days on Pittwater," said Nick Elliott, Race Director. "This event not only provides a forum for young sailors to showcase their skills but also serves as a stepping stone for their future in the sailing world."
The HARKEN Youth Match Racing on Pittwater is not only a platform to foster and nurture young talent in sailing but also an opportunity to uphold the spirit of healthy competition. The event encourages camaraderie and sportsmanship among the participants.
There promised to be plenty more high octane, adrenalin charged competition across the final 2 days of the 2023 HARKEN International Youth Match Racing Championship.
By weeks' end it was congratulations to Zac West and his team of Jameson Prescott, James Hayhoe, Emily Keg, Brooke Wilson, (RSYS), as the 29th Champions of the HARKEN International Youth Match Racing Championship 2023.
In a thrilling final between Ben Tylecote from GBR representing Rutland Sailing Club and Zac West from AUS representing the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, West took the first 2 wins in a best-of-five finals showdown. Tylecote returned with true determination in a neck-and-neck race to take race 3. Race 4 had both teams switching positions, West with a 2-point lead only needed 1 more race win to take the championship. Every decision counted...
West inched ahead to take the win and the celebrations started!
Both West and Tylecote fought hard throughout today's races winning by the smallest of margins through their respective Semi-Final matches with straight wins against Frewin from NZL and Kemp from Australia to make it to the final.
Pittwater stayed true to its form making racing tricky for all competitors with its finicky weather. Competition was close across all teams with the smallest of errors costing them the win.
Principle Race Officer, Ted Anderson claimed the 29th Harken International Youth Championship as his best event ever, not from just the skill of the teams, the quality of umpires, and his champion team on water but from the comradery and mateship of all involved in the event.
Chief Umpire Richard Slater who umpires America Cup events, Sail GP and advisers many classes on rules stated that "Ümpiring for the Harken Event this week with his fellow umpires has been an absolute joy, all the teams showed exceptional sportsmanship, took on our feedback and rulings without dispute. Truly made it a pleasure to be a part of the event".
Harken Managing Director Australasia Grant Pellew with his daughter Chloe assisted with presenting the top 3 placegetters with this year's awards. Pellew said "It was great to see you all competing today, each year the level of competition grows and to see new countries compete has been fantastic. "Harken has been supporting this event for 24 years, with the event in 2024 the 30th and Harken's 25th year of support it's going to be bigger and better".
RPAYC Commodore, Robert McClelland presented the Rockin’-Robin Perpetual Trophy’ on behalf of Robyn Wiltshire. Robyn specifically sent her best wishes to congratulate all competitors, and, to toast our newest Champion.
The 2023 Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship is wrapped up for another year and what an amazing week we've had here in Pittwater.
Thank you to the Race Management team for making the event possible and to the umpires and competitors who've travelled far and wide to be a part of the event.
Congratulations again to Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron for their win and to the rest of the competitors. The standard of racing this week was extremely high and the calibre of talent in the teams was amazing.
The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club looks forward to seeing you all again next year for the 30th edition of the Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship.
2023 Overall Places
10th Place: Hugo Butterworth (AUS)
9th Place: Mia Lovelady (AUS)
8th Place: Rory Sims (NZL)
7th Place: Richard Rychlik Jr (CAN)
6th Place: Nicolas Bernal (BRA)
5th Place: Tom Higgins (IRL)
4th Place: Jack Frewin (NZL)
3rd Place: Daniel Kemp (AUS)
2nd Place: Ben Tylecote (GBR)
1st Place & Champions
Zac West Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (AUS)
Visit the website to view the full lineup of teams and umpires: www.intyouthmatchracingchampionship.com
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Report: RPAYC, Images Credit: Alex Dare - Tidal Media Australia for Down Under Sail, RPAYC and Harken.