YSA’s bittersweet finish to Top End triumph

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has finished in second place at the Australian Maid Youth Match Racing Regatta 2018 hosted by Darwin Sailing Club last week. It was a bittersweet finish to the Regatta for the team, led by Finn Tapper with George Richardson, Jess Grimes, James Pagett and Tom Grimes, after getting through the qualifying stage of the event almost unscathed, racking up 14 victories from a total 15 races before stumbling in the finals against New Zealand.

The four-day event saw teams from Perth, Sydney, Darwin, and Auckland, NZ compete in what is only the second year of the event after the CYCA took out the inaugural title in 2017. With six teams competing, the format included a triple-round-robin stage before semi-finals and finals.

The opening day of the competition saw a strong SE breeze building off the Darwin land, with winds ranging between 12-17 knots. With stiffer competition at this year’s event, the close match racing was reflected in the scorecard at the end of the opening round robin when teams from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and Cruising Yacht Club of Australia all tied on equal points and in an unbreakable tie for the top spot.

Day Two saw the Race Committee complete the second round robin and the first two flights of round robin three. Tapper and his team continued a strong performance going through the day undefeated, notching up seven wins to clear a way to the top of the leaderboard, three points free of Farquharson (RPAYC). Whilst the top three teams continued to pull away at the top of the leaderboard, local hero Jed Cruickshanks from Darwin Sailing Club managed to secure his place in the semi-finals stage halfway through the third round robin.

Holding onto their three-point lead, the CYCA chose to race the local team in the semi-finals and made quick work of their opponent, dispatching the younger generation sailors 2-0 whilst the other semi-final was filled with controversial calls when the Kiwi team hoisted an asymmetrical spinnaker in Race 1, lost, but still managed to receive redress for their mistake.

This error didn’t fault the Kiwis though, as they eventually took out the hard-fought semi-final 2-1 over last year’s runner-up, James Farquharson (RPAYC). The Finals series saw some very close racing, but small errors from the CYCA team in each of their three matches was enough for the Kiwi team led by Patrick Harris to pounce and seal the regatta title 3-0 over the defending champions.

The CYCA Youth Sailing Academy now refocusses their efforts for the upcoming Captain John Piper Regatta at the end of the month.

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