Australian Youth Championships - Tight racing on day one

420 sailors Carrie Smith and Ella Clark on day one of the OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championships 2012
OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championships 2012 got underway today at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. Tight racing throughout the fleets has highlighted the first day of racing.

Moderate winds allowed the 175 crews to complete three races in each of the six fleets on Brisbane’s Moreton Bay.

New Zealand’s Andrew McKenzie got his regatta off to a perfect start with three wins from three races in the Laser Radial fleet.

McKenzie is six points clear of West Australian sailor Mark Spearman with another New Zealander, Matthew Kempkers a point further back in third.

'Today was a really good day with three firsts, I just went out there and tried to have some fun,' said McKenzie. 'I was always in the front few and we had some good racing out there.

'Last week we had a really high standard at the Laser Nationals and the experience from that event has helped out for this regatta,' he said. 'Tomorrow I’m just going to out there and go sailing, you can’t read too much into the first day, we’ve still got three to go.'

Local sailor Madison Kennedy is the leading female in the Laser Radial fleet in sixth overall, four places ahead of Louise Evans.

In the Laser 4.7 fleet Victorian Jack Felsenthal has the lead after day one following a fifth, a first and a fourth.

Felsenthal is two points ahead of Charlie Wyatt who bookended his day with two firsts, with a 10th in the middle race, to be five points clear of Jock Calvert in third.

Anna Philip and Hannah O’Brien are the two leading female sailors in the Laser 4.7 fleet in 10th and 11th overall, with just four points separating the pair.

Paul Darmanin and Lucy Copeland opened their regatta in the Hobie 16 class with two race wins and a third to end day one four points clear of Paddy Gilbert and Harrison West. Michelle Bursa and Chelsea Haynes are six points further back in third, with the Victorian pair finishing with two seconds and an OCS.

'The day started really well with a bit of wind which was really fun,' said Darmanin. 'It died out a bit as we went on and was quite flukey and difficult but overall we’re happy with the day one with three solid results.'

Darmanin said that he was enjoying racing in a larger Hobie 16 fleet at the 2012 OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championships, with 10 boats making the trip to Queensland compared to four at the 2011 Australian Youth Championships and five in 2010.

'The bigger fleet makes it a lot better as there’s a lot more points in it,' he said. 'It’s harder on start line, rewarding good work but there’s more risk in it.'

New South Welshman Sam Treharne has the lead in the Techno 293 class after two wins and a third, leaving him two points ahead of Antoine King who won the final race of the day, with Ashely Hepworth third overall.

New South Wales sailors fill the top four spots in the Techno 293 fleet with 2011 Australian Youth Sailing Team representative Annalise Gilbert in fourth.

West Australians are first and second in the 420 fleet with Lachlan Gilmour and Thomas Blaauw ending the day in the top spot following a seventh, second and a first, three points clear of Carrie Smith and Ella Clark, with Singaporeans Darren Choy and Nathan Tang third, tied on points with Smith and Clark.

Smith and Clark recently competed in the 470 class at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships with Clark saying that the experience was invaluable for the pair.

'Racing in Perth has helped us a lot,' said Clark. 'The intensity of the 470 Olympic sailors was the major difference, they have a different frame of mind and it was great to experience that big boat sailing, racing in a big, very competitive, fleet.

'The racing was a different level to what we’re use to and we had to really step up, it’s been good to bring that experience to 420 sailing and push ourselves,' she said.

The 33 boat 29er fleet put on some exciting, close racing on the bay with Victorians Tess Lloyd and Lewis Duncan finishing the opening day at the top of the table, with a first, second and fifth.

Lloyd and Duncan are three points ahead of Michael Koerner and Louis Halford-Barrow, with Harry Price and Nathan Edwards third.

Philippa and Eliza Solly are the highest placed all female 29er crew in fifth overall.

Racing continues at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron on Sunday, with the 2012 OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championships running until Tuesday 10 January.

Australian Youth Championships website