Anyon, Takahashi & Steele all line up with red hot fleet at Warren Jones International

The Warren Jones International Youth Regatta has been held in Western Australia since 2003 and has grown into a highly regarded event on the international yachting calendar. Competition is sure to be intense this year with four teams ranked in the top ten of the most recent World Sailing Match Race rankings.

Many young competitors have launched their match racing careers and history has shown that a winning campaign at the Warren Jones Regatta has led to a successful pathway in a sailors’ life. Competitors have gone on to compete and win at the World Match Race Tour circuit and even the Americas Cup as well as Olympic regattas and major offshore races.

The regatta is organised by Swan River Sailing with hosts Royal Perth Yacht Club in conjunction with Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club and will bring the stadium match racing event to Perth Waters with the City of Perth skyline as a backdrop.

The Warren Jones Foundation is committed to providing pathways for sailors and the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta connects these junior sailors with the open and professional world by giving them the skills to compete against the best. The juniors witness first hand some of the top sailors in the world.

“The talented teams selected to compete in this regatta have campaigned for years. It can typically take a campaign of 20 – 30 match racing events for a team to sail at a level that will put them in contention for the Warren Jones title.” says Torvar Mirsky from Perth. (A previous winner of the WJIYR)

A total of 12 teams have been accepted to compete from Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and international teams from New Zealand, Japan and Sweden.

Sam Gilmour (Neptune Racing) representing the Royal Freshwater Bay YC  is defending champion and has recently been awarded a WMRT card for the 2017 season. Sam has the highest WS/MR ranking of all the skippers (3) and has the advantage of sailing in his own backyard. Sam and his crew will be determined to retain his title.

“Really looking forward to the Warren Jones Regatta this year! Looks like plenty of familiar teams. Particularly the rekindling of the rivalry with Chris Steele from the last two years. Of course sailing in Perth is always awesome. To race directly in front of the city will be a challenge, and should provide good entertainment for all involved.”

Says Sam Gilmour

Royal Freshwater Bay Youth Academy will have a strong presence with three other teams skippered by Lachy Gilmour (Gilmour Racing Team), Will Boulden (Alpha Racing Team) and young gun Ethan Prieto-Low (Calypso Racing). All are very capable of causing upsets on their day.

Redline Racing, skippered by Matt Jerwood (WS/MR rank 8), from South of Perth Yacht Club, finished 3rd at the 2016 World Match Racing Tour ‘million dollar’ final in Sweden and will be one of the hot favourites for this year’s regatta. This is Redline Racing’s last year in the under 25 category, and having never won (3rd in 2016, 2nd in 2015), Matt and his team will be eager to change that.

Tough competition from Interstate sailors comes in the shape of Harry Price (Down Under Racing) from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Youth Sailing Academy and Will Dargaville (Dargaville Racing) from Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in Sydney.

Harry Price has risen to a current WS/MR rank 5, after winning five match race titles in 2016 and finishing 2nd at the 2016 Youth Match Racing Worlds.

Will Dargaville WS/MR rank 13, finished one better than Harry, winning the 2016 Youth Match Racing Worlds and finished on the podium at 3 other top match racing regattas during the 2016 season.

James Hodgson representing Mooloolaba Yacht Club in Queensland has a combined crew from CYCA and SOPYC in recognition of clubs supporting youth match racing by helping provide crew and support in developing match racing clubs such as Mooloolaba. As the joint youngest skipper James has achieved a very high level at a very young age and from a small regional club without the resources and crew depth available in Perth, Sydney and   Auckland club programs.

Expect tough competition from international guests. Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) Youth Academy, have produced some amazing teams to compete at Perth. They have won the Warren Jones Regatta six times in the past. RNZYS are represented this year by skippers, Chris Steele, George Anyonand Leonard Takahashi.

Chris Steele of (36 Below Racing) carries a WS/MR rank 6. He was a finalist at the 2016 WJIYR and also tour card holder at the 2017 WMRT, Chris acts as a mentor and skipper for a group of very talented match racers from the RNZYS academy. The RNZYS Performance Program  includes 10 of the best young sailors in New Zealand this season. 

George Anyon is skipper of a team which is part of the RNZYS performance program  and comes to Perth with a current WS/MR rank of 31.

Leonard Takahashi, born in Japan but living and sailing in Auckland, is also part of the program. He arrives with his team as the third arm of the kiwi challenge. He carries a WS/MR of 100. Both these sailors are very capable of taking some scalps at this regatta.

Apart from New Zealand, no other international team has claimed the Warren Jones title but Mans Holmberg (CFA Sports) from Cape Crow Yacht Club in Sweden, will travel to WA to try and change all that. Mans from Gothenburg has been racing with a Youth Americas Cup team and on the M32 circuit and has the infamous Holmberg family to back him up.

Each international team will also be vying for the Traveller’s Trophy, awarded to the highest placed international competitor.

Spectating at this year’s regatta is set to be better than ever down at the newly developed Elizabeth Quay and Perth foreshore. The line up of dates coincides with the Fringe World Festival and Chinese New Year, adding to the atmosphere of the regatta.

The daily briefings and some on-shore regatta events will be held at the Lucky Shag restaurant and Aqua Bar in the Old Perth Port.

Racing is scheduled to take place between 1230pm and 7pm (local time), right when the Fremantle Doctor kicks in, each afternoon. Everyone is encouraged to listen in on 106.5FM also streamed live via the website: warrenjonesregatta.org.au.

For more details visit:www.warrenjonesregatta.org.au

Facebook page:www.facebook.com/WarrenJonesRegatta

by Jonny Fullerton, Warren Jones International Youth Regatta
Read more at http://www.mysailing.com.au/latest/red-hot-fleet-for-2017-warren-jones-international-youth-regatta#XVJJRrYLvsPlMAS1.99

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