Australia. Walker wins Bavaria Yachts International, after threats from Ryan

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Camaraderie was put on hold this afternoon as two Cruising Yacht Club of Australia teams met in the finals of the Bavaria Yachts International Youth Match Racing Regatta sailed on Sydney Harbour.

The defending club for the fourth consecutive year managed to once again retain the perpetual trophy thanks to a brilliant effort over the four day regatta by the eventual winner, Evan Walker and runner up Will Ryan, whose local knowledge, crew work and superb handling of the Elliott 6s saw them dominate from the outset.

Walker drew first blood in the final and although Ryan constantly threatened, the Australian youth match racing champion this afternoon added another major title to his sailing resume. Coincidentally, this morning Walker drew the Bavaria Yachts Elliott 6 and managed to sail the regatta and sponsor’s boat to victory much to the delight of those on the Bavaria Yachts hospitality boat.

With Ryan chasing his first major win and Walker the more highly ranked, both had something to lose this afternoon and this showed in their sailing. Aggressive pre-starts and close upwind tacking duels gave spectators plenty of heart stopping moments.

With Walker one up in the finals, Ryan was black flagged and subsequently disqualified in race two after being overlapped to leeward and having room called three times by Walker to which he failed to respond.

In the third and final race, Walker gained the upper hand early, locking Ryan and his crew of Jye Murray and Kyle Langford (Walker’s regular bowman) against the race committee boat and leaving them dead in the water at the start. Ryan responded with an aggressive tacking duel all the way to the top mark but Walker held the lead and with a perfectly executed spinnaker set rode a well timed gust to maintain the separation and seal the regatta with a 3-0 result.

No more than two boat lengths separated Walker and Ryan at any stage in the final race, Ryan applying constant pressure until the dying moments. America’s Cup umpire Richard Slater commented that the end result wasn’t indicative of the closeness of the racing between these two skippers.

“We are relieved to have won,” said a delighted Walker this afternoon. “All the teams sailed really well during the round robins and wins were not easy to come by. 

“After we won the first race of the finals, we had more confidence going into the second,” he added, putting their result down to more experience in the pre-starts and their crew work. For this regatta Walker combined with Robert Gibbs, an experienced youth match racing skipper in his own right, and newcomer Jeremy Wawn on the bow.

Walker knocked the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s Andrew Hudson out of finals contention with a 2-0 result in the semi final leaving Hudson and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s Ed Quartly to meet to determine who would complete the podium places.

Hudson and Quartly won a race apiece and in the third and final race, Hudson picked up a penalty for gybing too close during the pre-start which he managed to burn off while he tried to force Quartly into an overlap situation downwind. Quartly wouldn’t be drawn and finished the race with a text book spinnaker run to the finish line to place third overall with Hudson fourth.

While the semi finals were being played out, the remaining six teams sailed off for the minor placings in a light 7-9 knot N/NW breeze.

In the Garth Ellingham (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron) and Lucinda Whitty (CYCA) battle for fifth and sixth place, Whitty won the start of race one but couldn’t maintain the advantage. In the second race she was holding Ellingham out until she went head to wind at the top mark and found herself with no rights and a penalty which put her on the back foot and saw her finish sixth overall.

In the Nina Curtis (RPAYC) versus Amanda Scrivenor (Sandringham Yacht Club) sail off, Scrivenor lost both the pre-starts and despite making up some ground, wasn’t able to hold out the much higher ranked skipper from Pittwater on Sydney’s northern beaches, losing 2-0 to finish eighth overall.

Jonathan Clough from the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, one of two New Zealand teams contesting this international ISAF Grade 3 regatta, proved too tough for David Chapman from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron relegating him to tenth place after demonstrating some powerful downwind sailing.

Final results

1st Evan Walker (CYCA)
2nd Will Ryan (CYCA)
3rd Ian Quartly (RSYS)
4th Andrew Hudson (RPAYC)
5th Garth Ellingham (RNZYS)
6th Lucinda Whitty (CYCA)
7th Nina Curtis (RPAYC)
8th Amanda Scrivenor (SYC)
9th Jonathan Clough (Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club)
10th David Chapman (Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron)

Lisa Ratcliff

For full results

Last Updated ( Sunday, 19 November 2006 )