A match made in Pittwater

Australian Ethan Prieto-Low has scored victory in The Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship 17 to 20 November on Pittwater.

21 November 2022


The higher echelons of youth match racing made a triumphant return 17 to 20 November after a two-year absence with the Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship taking place on Pittwater under the stewardship of host club the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC). The Championship for Youth teams (under 23) was first established in 1992 and has served as a feeder for youth talent that has gone on to race in the America’s Cup, Olympics, Volvo Ocean Race and the World Match Racing Tour.

The event offered 10 teams from Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and the US the chance to compete for glory, racing in the RPAYC’s freshly rejuvenated fleet of Elliot 7s. The racing was overseen by a strong line-up of regional and international match racing umpires, with sailors hoping to get their names etched onto the Rockin’ Robin Perpetual Trophy.


“Harken is proud of our involvement in this international event over the past 25 years, and we believe youth sailing is one of the most important forms of our sport,” said Grant Pellew, Harken’s Managing Director Australasia, before racing began on 17 November.

“We are heavily committed to youth sailing both here and overseas. The Harken family wish everyone taking part the best of luck in the regatta, may the best team win.”

Among the youth talent lining up for the 2022 event was top-ranked skipper Ethan Prieto-Low representing the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club (RFBYC), who currently stands at 101 in the World Sailing Match Racing Rankings. Prieto-Low’s team were expecting stiff competition from fellow RFBYC entry Marcello Torre (ranked 187), and Josh Hyde (ranked 331, racing under the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron) who placed third in the Harken New Zealand Match Racing Nationals.

Chelsea Williams representing the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia was also looking for a strong performance having placed 11th at the Women’s Open World Match Racing Championship in Auckland.

Day One kicked off with a solid 12-18 knots of breeze from the SSE, with gusts up to 20 knots proving a challenge on the approach to the windward mark. After eight flights and 32 matches, no team had held on to a perfect score leaving the competition wide open for Day Two.

The second day of racing got underway with a building SSE 8-15 knots with close racing across the flights. Indeed, by the end of flight 17 at which point all teams had raced an equal number of races, the top three were separated by just one win – with Ethan Prieto-Low on 11 and Max Paul (Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron) and Max Brennan (Balboa Yacht Club) on 10 apiece.

“I’d say that was looking pretty close!” quipped Nick Elliott, Race Director.

Day Three kicked off with a building northeasterly, with the second round-robin completed at midday and Prieto-Low holding on to a slim lead over Brennan and Paul. Moving into the race-offs and semi-finals, Paul beat Brennan to claim the first finals place, with Prieto-Low overcoming Marcello Torre to set the match-up between two Australians.

Unfortunately, the wind gods decided to play havoc with finals day on Sunday 20 November, throwing a solid 21 knots in from the west with gusts up to 27 knots. At 1438 the race committee decided to abandon racing for the day – a first for the event – with the final outcome being decided by the round robin and semi-final results. “That’s the first time I’ve never finished a full regatta,” offered Race Officer Ted Anderson.

It meant that pre-event favourite Ethan Prieto-Low and his team – comprising Adam Brenz-Verca, Raff Torre and George Angus – took first place ahead of Max Paul and his team of Zac West, Brooke Wilson, Jameson Prescott and Abigail Gilbert, with US entrant Max Brennan and his team of Peter Sangmeister, Morgan Pinckney and Mark Murray taking third.



  1. 2022 WINNERS – Ethan Prieto-Low (Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club)
  2. Max Paul (Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron)
  3. Max Brennan (Balboa Yacht Club)
  4. Marcello Torre (Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club)
  5. Josh Hyde (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron)
  6. D’Arcy Kemp (Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club)
  7. Brayden Hamilton (Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron)
  8. Daniel Kemp (Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club)
  9. Chelsea Williams (Cruising Yacht Club of Australia)
  10. Kevin Le Dreau (Cercle Nautique Caledonien)


Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club

Harken Australia


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