I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe break over the Christmas holiday period. I certainly made the most of a few days off and feel rested and ready to tackle a brand new year. To start 2019, I am heading to both Perth and Sydney for two major match racing events and I will be competing for Australia as part of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia team.
The first leg begins with an 8 hour journey to Perth this Saturday for the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta. Established in memory of Warren Jones, who passed away suddenly in 2002, the aim of this regatta is to give a new generation of yachtsmen and women the chance to live their dreams – just as Warren did his all those years ago when he led a group of Australian yachtsmen to victory to win the 1983 Americas Cup from the New York Yacht Club for the first time in 132 years of competition.
This event is classified by World Sailing as Grade 2 and will be contested in identical Foundation 36 yachts. This will represent a significant departure from most of the match racing that I have done which has mainly been in smaller 6 and 7m yachts with 3 or 4 crew. Due to the 36 foot size of the yachts, each crew will consist of 5 or 6 people with a total combined weight of 437.5kg. This will significantly alter the dynamics of the team with an even higher emphasis placed on teamwork and clear communication. The other unknown factor is the boat itself. I have certainly not sailed on this particular design of boat before and I am confident that there will be many others in a similar position.
I have been invited to sail as part of Tom Grimes' team, currently ranked 36th in World Rankings, whom I met during the series of match racing events prior to Christmas. Tom is a terrific competitor, coming off a win at the Australian Youth Match Racing Championship last October, and is an integral part of the highly successful CYCA Youth Sailing Academy. With only 12 crews invited from a truly international field it should be another fantastic week of sailing.
Following the conclusion of this event on 1st February, I will be flying into Sydney to compete once again for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in the Hardy Cup; one of Australia's most prestigious match racing events. The Hardy Cup, as an Under 25 World Sailing Grade 3 International Event, was donated by Sir James Hardy (Event Patron); an America's Cup winner, World Champion, Olympic yachtsman, and prominent RSYS member to promote the match racing, helming and tactical skills of up-and-coming sailors. Racing for the Hardy Cup will be held on the magnificent Sydney Harbour set with the backdrop of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
I feel incredibly lucky to be asked to sail in this event as part of Finn Tapper's team once again. Currently ranked 30 in the World, I had the good fortune of sailing with Finn at the Musto International Youth Match Racing Regatta in December where we finished 5th and look forward to returning to Sydney with another opportunity to sail with such a great team.
In finishing, it would be remiss of me not to thank Jordan Reece, CYCA Youth Sailing Academy Head Coach for giving me this opportunity and managing all the logistics for both events. The CYCA Youth Sailing Academy program is widely recognised as one of the most successful in Australia and enjoys international acclaim, in no small part due to the dedication and commitment of the whole coaching team.
I look forward to updating you on my return from Sydney in a few weeks and thanks for all the kind messages of support.