Final countdown to 2017 Australian Youth Championships
by Australian Sailing - Kate Lathouras
Entries for next week’s Australian Youth Championships look to surpass 230 competitors with representation locally, nationally and internationally.
Held at the Adelaide Sailing Club from the 10 – 14 January, this regatta will see competitors battle it out on the South Australian waters for the chance to be crowned Australia’s youth champion in their class.
This year sees a new wave of talent come into the mix and Australian Sailing’s Performance Pathway Manager, Mark Robinson, is looking forward to many sailors stepping up at this regatta.
“With some of last year’s top youth sailors transitioning into their respective Olympic class boat, it paves the way for new talent to come through. As selection into the 2017 Australian Youth Sailing Team is partly based on results at this event, there will be some great sailing and it provides an opportunity for good results to get the year off to a positive start”, Mark said.
Here are few classes to keep your eye on over next week’s event,
Bic Techno 293
Reigning champion from 2016, Courtney Schoutrop, will be returning to defend her title in this windsurfing class. Courtney recently attended the 2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championships (Youth Worlds) and placed 18th overall. Similarly was 2016 second place winner, Alexander Halank, who also placed 25th at the same Youth Worlds in the boys division. Both competitors will be ones to watch in the coming week.
Teams Marcello Torre and Owen Ready, and Otto Henry and Rome Featherstone, in the boys 420 group both have high hopes of securing the gold in this class. Both teams earned a top 30 result at a highly competitive 420 World Championships back in September and have been ‘neck and neck’ at regattas since. On the other hand, the door for a winner is wide open in the girls 420 cohort.
Following a stellar year after winning the 2016 Youth Worlds, Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot return to defend their title as this year’s girls 29er Australian Youth Champions. Similarly, reigning 29er World Champion skipper, Tom Crockett, will be sailing this event with new crew Max Paul. A week of hard work will see who will be victorious in this class.
Top performing Laser 4.7 girl at the most recent world championships, Bronagh Allison, will be eyeing off a podium place at their year’s Youth Championships. Also to watch is Kristen Wadley and Hailey Johnson both top female sailors in this youth class. In the boys class, Finn O’Dea secured a top 20 position at the same Laser 4.7 Worlds and will be closely contested with Jack Littlechild and George Morton.
Following a top 10 result at the Laser Radial Youth World Championships and a 12th at the Sailing World Cup Final, Elyse Ainsworth, will be a top competitor to watch. Similarly placed in both regattas was Marlena Berzins; no doubt there will be tight racing in this group. Zac Littlewood and Caelin Winchcombe are also ideally placed for podium positions following all-star results at the Sailing World Cup – Melbourne and the Laser Radial Youth Worlds.
Racing is set to commence on Wednesday January 11; all the action of the 2017 Australian Youth Championships can be found via the Australian Youth Championships website www.youthchamps.org.au or via the event’s Facebook Page, www.facebook.com/AusYouthChamps/.
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