Photography by Right On Photography
One of Australia’s biggest junior state competitions got underway last weekend at the Trinity Point NSW Youth Championships at Lake Macquarie on the NSW Central Coast.
A surprise appearance by Olympic Gold medalist Tom Burton was the icing on the cake of an event deemed successful by all who attended. Burton, who won the Laser Class in Rio last year, began his career at South Lake Macquarie Sailing Club, which hosted the NSW title for the first time.
Hopefuls from across the state, as well as entrants from Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia – and even one from New Zealand – competed in the last of the nation’s state-based youth regattas for 2017.
The event featured 277 entries in 20 Classes, with nearly 400 contestants ranging in age from seven to 19 – a 20 percent increase on last year’s attendance. They included Australian Sailing Team youth representatives, windsurfers Hailey Lea of Queensland and Alex Halank from NSW.
The regatta provides a foundation for those aiming to be in contention for the 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships at Corpus Christi in the US next July.
Australian Sailing’s NSW and ACT Regional Manager Declan Brennan said Burton’s attendance “completed the loop” of his rise in the sport and, hopefully, “inspired some of the youth at the event to go on to bigger and better things”.
Brennan said the sailors were thankful to the more than 100 volunteers who helped the event run smoothly.
“We had some amazing statistics coming out, such as the fact we were able to launch a boat every 28 seconds when we were in peak flow, which is a phenomenal outcome,” he said.
“It meant we could get the sailors out on the water really quickly. We had also some wonderful rigging areas for them, plenty of space to spread out.”
“The team for the World Championships in China in December is already decided, but this regatta, in a way, marks the start of the next qualification process, for the worlds next year in America,” said Tristan Brown, Australian Sailing’s NSW Laser Coach and Performance Pathway Officer.
“It’s a real test ahead of the Australian Youth Championships in Brisbane in January and a benchmark, I guess, for competitors to see where they’re at.
“Apart from that, this regatta is being held in a quite different location, up north, so I think everyone’s pretty excited to get things going.”
Richard Scarr of the Tasmanian State Sailing Performance Program praised Trinity Point as “the best NSW youths we have ever come to. Great sailing and perfect conditions, great venue, easy accommodation options, amazing organisation. Such good participation numbers for our sport.”
For full results see: slmasc.org