Australian Youth Championships – Down to the wire

Laser Radial winner Mark Spearman - OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championships 2012
OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championships 2012 has drawn to a conclusion at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. A number of classes were right down to the wire on the final day of racing.

There was a lot at stake for the 175 crews racing on Brisbane’s Moreton Bay with the OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championships titles up for grabs, along with positions in the Australian Youth Sailing Team to contest the 2012 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships.

The Laser Radial class was one which was still undecided going into the final day with New Zealand’s Andrew McKenzie leading Mark Spearman of Western Australia.

Spearman had the better day of the two, finishing with a first and a sixth in conditions which were heavier than predicted, to take the win by four points, with Matthew Kempkers third.

'I’m stoked with the result,' said Spearman. 'Getting the spot at the ISAF Youth Worlds has been my goal for the last year and a half and to finally get it is amazing.

'I kept an eye on Andrew all day and I worked out after the first race today that he’d have to win the last one and I’d have to be down the order for him to get it so I just kept near him through the race and came away with it,' he said.

Louise Evans was the first female in the Laser Radial fleet and qualified for the Australian Youth Sailing Team, with fellow Queenslander Madison Kennedy second and Ella Evans third.

Jack Felsenthal had been the sailor to beat all week in the Laser 4.7 fleet and the final day was no different with the Victorian winning both races to make it eight wins from 10 starts, and the Australian Championship by 13 points over Benjamin Knoop with Jock Calvert third.

Anna Philip was the first female in fourth overall, ahead of Hannah O’Brien and Ashleigh Dyer.

The 420 class was incredibly tight all week, with Singaporeans Darren Choy and Nathan Tang winning overall by just a single point, ahead of West Australians Carrie Smith and Ella Clark, with Tom Klemens and James Oliver third.

'We’ve worked towards this for the last full year and it’s all over it just a couple of weeks, we’re both really excited to be the top female crew and to go to our second Youth Worlds,' said Clark. 'Heading to the Youth Worlds this year we know what to expect and after coming so close last year hopefully we’ll get a medal.

'The conditions today weren’t what we expected, it was a bit stronger which mixed up the fleet,' she said. 'We wanted to beat the Singaporeans for the overall win but they got us by just a point, it was really close all week.'

Sam Treharne continued his dominance of the Techne 293 class, winning nine of the 10 races to claim his first Australian Youth Championship title by 17 points with Ashely Heyworth second.

Annalise Gilbert went into the final day trailing West Australian Paris Stowell but got the results when it counted, with a third and a second allowing her to take the top female spot, and qualify for the Australian Youth Sailing Team by just two points.

Tom Siganto and Joel Turner continued their great run in the 29er fleet, with the pair finishing in the top six in every race, with a second and first in the final two races giving them a 16 point win over New South Welshmen Harry Price and Nathan Edwards.

Tess Lloyd and Lewis Duncan were third overall and the first mixed crew with Philippa and Eliza Solly the top all-female crew in seventh overall.

Paul Darmanin ensured that he’ll attend his third straight ISAF Youth Worlds with his win in the Hobie 16 class, this time with Lucy Copeland.

The pair was at the pointy end of the fleet all week and took the title by five points of Danish crew Daniel and Nicolaj Bjornholt, with Paddy Gilbert and Harrison West third.

'To win again is a great feeling, it also made sure that this title has stayed in the family for seven straight years,' said Darmanin. 'It’s going to be great to go to another Youth Worlds and I’m looking forward to doing it with a new team.

'It was pretty challenging out there today, there were a few capsizes in the fleet but we managed to play it safe and had a good finish to the series,' he said.

Australian Youth Championships website