International Youth Match Racing is set to return to the waters of Lower Pittwater in Sydney’s north this November, 16-20, with host club and Organising Authority the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, now accepting applications for invitations, to the 2022 HARKEN International Youth Match Racing Championship.
Scheduled to be conducted from 16th November through to 20th November, where the first day is reserved for team practice and training, four days of racing is programmed for this World Sailing Grade 3 event, for those aged under 23 years.
When November rolls around and the next ‘HARKEN’ champion is crowned, three long years will have passed since Alastair Gifford (NZL), beat Matthew Whitfield (GBR), 3-2 in the hotly contested 2019 final, to take both the spoils and bragging rights, back to his homeland in New Zealand.
Absent from the Youth Match Racing scene during the Covid impacted years, the Club is excited to again welcome local and international youth teams to the ‘HARKEN’, as the sailing world has now confidently reopened, post the Covid-19 pandemic.
Notably, many of the sailors expected to compete this year will now become a part of Youth Match Racing’s ‘Generation Next’, as most of this year’s cohort, were likely not yet even on the scene, or, were just entering the cut and thrust world of Youth Match Racing, way back when Gifford came out on top.
“The ‘HARKEN’ has always held its own, particularly as it has become such a prestigious World Sailing Grade 3 Event. To come out on top at the ‘HARKEN’ is always a major achievement for these young teams”, RPAYC Sailing & Communications Manager, Brendan Rourke, commented.
He adds, “The event is extremely competitive, so this next generation of young sailors will have to be really dialled in and on their game, which will challenge them, but should also make for some great match racing.”
Also pleased to see the return of the international youth event proudly bearing its name, is long time naming rights sponsor HARKEN. Equally proud of their association with the ‘Alfred’s’ and their ongoing support of ‘Youth Development’ at the Club, HARKEN’s Managing Director Australasia, Grant Pellew had this to say, “The team at HARKEN are most excited to be able to support this very important and very successful international event again, particularly after such unprecedented years. Once again, we’ll see youth teams from around the world, all doing what we all love most, and that is sailing and racing competitively.”
In a clear nod to the recent events around the world and with the ability to now reunite with overseas acquaintances, Pellew remarks;
“We’re obviously very looking forward to seeing our old friends again, plus the opportunity to make new ones when we’re back out on the water, because unfortunately, it’s been a while. It’s really great to see international competition back in Pittwater too, so that must be a good thing for both the sailors and the Club.”
This year’s ‘HARKEN’ Championship will again be contested in the Club’s matched fleet of eight Elliott 7 keelboats, which are also the beneficiary of the long-standing partnership between HARKEN and the Club.
Pellew further added, “The Club took on a major overall of their Elliott 7 fleet last winter and HARKEN were of course more than happy to provide some quality, brand new, deck hardware. The Club’s done a fantastic job and the fleet is now looking super refreshed and close to feeling brand new again.”
As always, the ‘HARKEN’, along with the RPAYC’s nimble fleet of Elliott 7s, has been a major drawcard for entries from countries spanning the globe, including entries from continental Europe, the UK and Ireland, the USA, as well as Japan and New Zealand.
Similarly, many high-quality local teams based around Australia have found themselves on the event card as well, all fighting the international visitors to become champion and all fighting to lift the ‘Rockin’ Robin Perpetual Trophy’, for championship glory.
As early indications would have it, this year is again pointing to another good mix of international and local crews taking to the water.
This now means, that the stage is ‘almost’ set, the return of the ‘HARKEN’ is eminent, and those skilled young sailors of ‘Generation Next’, are surely eager to announce themselves, onto the scene of International Youth Match Racing.
HARKEN International Youth Match Racing Championship
16th-20th November 2022
Skippers wishing to register an application for invitation from the Organizing Authority, may do so by visiting the Official Event Website.
Organising Authority – Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club