RYCT/Hutchins team second in Qld match racing
Tasmania’s RYCT/Hutchins team, skippered by Sam Abel, has finished a close second in the Queensland Open and Youth match racing championship, against some of the nation’s experienced youth sailors.
Abel, the Tasmanian schools match racing champion and runner-up in the Schools Nationals, showed great tactical skills and seamanship in taking the grand final right down to the wire.
The championship, conducted by Mooloolaba Yacht Club on tricky inland canals, attracted many of the most experienced match racing sailors from Queensland and New South Wales.
The RYCT crew of Sam Abel, Will Cooper, Nick Smart and Charlie Goodfellow showed great tenacity in reaching the grand final after finishing third in the two round-robins with a total of six wins from 12 matches.
It took the boys quite a bit of time to settle into quite different conditions as the race track was in the canals at Mooloolaba with tight, short courses. There was nowhere to hid when being hunted pre-start
Thus, being a short course, a good start was critical.
At the end of the two round-robins Abel was well behind the two leaders, James Hodgson (Sunshine Coast Sailing Team) who finished with 13 wins and Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Tom Grimes, who scored 12 wins.
The Tasmanians qualified for the semi-finals, ranked as the underdogs, and once the finals started the game started all over again.
Abel and his RYCT/Hutchins crew sailed a brilliant semi-final against the CYCA’s Tom Grimes who had only dropped two races in the round-robins and were ranked number two,
The Tasmanians won 2-0, earning the right to meet James Hodgson, the Sunshine Coast and Australian schools champion, in the grand final.
The RYCT/Hutchins crew, with an average age of 15, were by far the youngest combination in the event, racing against sailors up to the age of 23, yet they sailed with great skill.
In the best of three grand final, the Tasmanians lost the first race but won the second to level the score.
The championship went down to wire, Abel and Hodgson locked on a win apiece with Australian champion Hodgson deservedly winning the final race to add the Queensland match racing title to an already impressive career.
The RYCT/Hutchins team gained enormous experience from the competition. They look forward to more match racing opportunities in the future and thank the RYCT and The Hutchins School for supporting them.
Jill Abel/Nick Hutton/Peter Campbell
19 September 6