Spectacular summer for young Tasmanian sailors
The River Derwent has seen more than 400 small sailboats racing almost each day since the start of the New Year, and it hasn’t ended yet.
A further 160-plus off-the-beach boats this weekend are contesting the prestigious Australian Sailing Youth Championship in seven different off-the-beach international youth classes.
The Youth Championships have attracted Australia’s most promising young sailors, aged under 19, from all Australian States and several Pacific countries.
The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania is conducting the championships on behalf of Australian Sailing, with competition continuing through to Monday in boys and girls divisions for Bic Techno 293 sailboards, Bic Techno Plus sailboards, Laser 4.7s, Laser Radials, Int 420s, Int 29ers and mixed crews in Nacra 15 catamarans.
The team will be based on combined performances in national class championships and the Youth nationals and will be announced at the regatta prizegiving.
Most of the young sailors have spent the past week competing in their national championships, conducted by the RYCT on the Derwent and, for the Laser Radial and 4.7s, up at Devonport’s Mersey Yacht Club, with sailing offshore on Bass Strait.
Tasmanian sailors have certainly ‘punched above their weight’ in many of these championships, as well as in the nationals conducted by Sandy Bay Sailing Club for International Cadets and a swarm of 240 Optimist dinghies.
In the Cadets, 13-year-old Hugo Allison and his 12-year-old crew James Gough, sailed a brilliant series to win the Cadet Nationals in a fleet of 49 boats. This was yet another outstanding effort by Hugo, who in 2015 crewed for Sam Abel in winning the Cadet Worlds and also in a national champion win for Sam Tiedeman who steered Philosopher to victory in the Launceston to Hobart yacht race.
In the Optimists, Eddie Reid, another 13-year-old, sailed a great series in finishing second overall in the Optimist nationals which 240 of these single-handed pram dinghies with their sprit sails competed in open, intermediate and green divisions.
Another outstanding result for Sandy Bay Sailing Club were those achieved by their contingent in the 29ers, part of the ‘9er’ Australian championships.
William Wallis and Fynn Sprott finished second in the 48 boat fleet of these high performance skiffs, while Alice Buchan and Dervla Duggan won the all-female championship, finishing 14th overall.
Four Tasmanian crews finished in the top ten. In addition to Wallis and Sprott, young Oscar O’Donoghue, in his first season in 29ers, and his crew, Rupert Hamilton, finished fourth overall, winning race 11.
Ethan Galbraith and Charles Zeeman finished eighth overall while in 10th place were Charlie Goodfellow and Jacob McConaghy.
In the 49erFX (Olympic female skiff) Jasmin Galbraith and Chole Fisher won two races in finishing second overall and first female crew.
Hugo Hamilton and Hugh Hickling sailed consistently at the top half of the 49er (Olympic male skiff) to finish fourth overall, notching up a second and five third places in the 16-race series.
A huge fleet of Lasers raced on Bass Strait in championship divisions for Standard Rigs (Olympic single-handed dinghy), Radials and 4.7s. Under 19 youth sailors are now in Hobart contesting the Laser Radial and Laser 4.7 divisions of the Australian Sailing Youth Championships.
Best performance by a Tasmanian was 10th overall in the Laser 4.7s by Anna Vaughan, while Sam King, in his first season in the Standard Rigs, finished 13th overall. In the Radials, William Sargent finished 18th overall.
Words: Peter Campbell
Photos: Pete Harmsen, Oliver Hartas, Nick Hutton
12 January 2019