Two semi-finalists have been decided on Day 3 of the Musto International Youth Match Racing Regatta as Matthew Whitfield delivered a knockout blow to defending champion Frankie Dair in today’s Quarter-Finals, scoring 3-0, to book his berth in tomorrow’s semi-finals. Whitfield is currently joined by Jordan Stevenson, whom also went 3-0 over Australia’s Finn Tapper.
Before heading into the Quarter-Finals though, the Race Committee had a small task of not only finishing off the round robin qualifying stage, but as well as the 8 team repechage stage. All in all, 43 races were completed, with now 6 of the 12 teams knocked out of contention for this year’s ‘Joy Ride’ Perpetual Trophy.
On another postcard sailing day on Sydney Harbour, with 8-18 knots blowing from the north-east, there were early upsets from the beginning of the day. In the final flight of the round robin, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s James Hodgson snagged the final Top 4 spot when Frankie Dair lost to David Wood, and Hodgson beat Tapper.
This saw Dair fall into the repechage round along with Tom Grimes, Jed Cruickshank, Jeffrey Petersen, David Wood, Finn Tapper, Niall Malone and Niall Powers.
Stage 2 saw current Youth Match Racing World Champion dominate the proceedings, topping the round with a 6-1 scorecard. Cricket Racing’s Jeffrey Petersen, representing Balboa Yacht Club, also seemed to benefit from more time in the Elliott 7m, looking more impressive throughout the day to score 5-2, along with fellow American Frankie Dair.
CYCA’s Finn Tapper was the final team to qualify for the quarter-finals, with a 4-3 scorecard. At the end of Stage 2, we unfortunately said goodbye to four competitors, with Niall Powers climbing from 12th to 9th in the repechage, David Wood finished in 10th, Niall Malone in 11th, and after an impressive qualifying stage which saw him initially qualify in 7th, Jed Cruickshank had a less than impressive round in finish in 12th.
Moving into the quarter-finals, there was an upset from the get go, with Jeffrey Petersen dominating Nick Egnot-Johnson in the opening race. Petersen looked set to record a second victory over the World #2 when he again penalised him in the pre-start and led down the first run, but a poor tactical decision at the gate, saw Egnot-Johnson whip his penalty and take the lead to level the series. The kiwi then took a comfortable victory in Race 3 to now lead the series 2-1 into tomorrow.
In the other quarter-final, it is once again the two inseparable competitors and ex-team mates of James Hodgson and Tom Grimes. The World Champions were never more than a few legs away from each other during the entire series which now will be completed tomorrow.
Sparks were always going to be firing between these two and they didn’t disappoint. Hodgson got the early jump in Race 1, whilst Grimes came from behind to take out Race 2 by only 1 second, in the closest of finishes ever. Race 3 then got extremely aggressive between the two with Grimes ramming Hodgson around the bottom gate, resulting in significant damage to Hodgson’s boat. However, Grimes managed to overtake and extend from Hodgson to complete his penalty turn and take the series lead. Back at the CYCA though, Grimes was found in breach of heavy contact and was award a 0.75pt penalty for the collision.
Tomorrow is the final day of the event, where a new champion of the “Joy Ride” trophy will be crowned. The Quarter Finals will commence at 1100hrs, with the semi-finals scheduled for 1230hrs and the Finals at 1500hrs.