Very tricky racing in the rain on day one at the Warren Jones Regatta

The first day of the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta was sailed in unseasonable overcast skies with continuous rain showers all day and a shifting breeze ranging from 5 – 10 knots.

With the new race course enclosed by the city of Perth skyscrapers and a shifty E/SE wind, teams had to negotiate a number of obstacles including sand banks, ferries, navigational marks and each other!

However even the highest calibre of match racing teams found the compact race course with tight exclusion zones, very difficult and the day ended with a few surprise wins and some very close finishes.

Defending champion Sam Gilmour and his Neptune Racing Team from RFBYC reeled off 4 wins in 4 races laying down a solid marker in the earlier part of the day.

Most match pairings seem to aim for the pin end of the short start line and work the North shore closest to Elizabeth Quay, avoiding the exclusion zone markers. This made the pre-start manoeuvres a little less conventional.

Chris Steele (36 Below Racing), one of three teams from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, had a slightly shaky start in his first two matches having to use all his experience to claw back the advantage in his match against fellow team member Leonard Takahashi. He did however end the day with 4 wins and no losses.

Another top match racer, Matt Jerwood (Redline Racing) from SoPYC, also stuttered with two poor starts leaving him with 1 win from 4 races. One of these losses was to young gun Ethan Prieto-Low (Calypso Racing) from RFBYC. Ethan chalked up the win in his first match race of the day. Sadly after leading his second match he lost a crew member over the side and couldn’t recover the win but did however start his regatta with a moral boosting scalp.

“I think we won the start, we were on starboard and went out to the port side of the course for around 30 seconds, then tacked over to cross him and found some more pressure on the right hand side. We were then able to control him on the short course to the finish.”

“In the second race we were gaining on our competitor when my pit man held on to the tweaker but it wasn’t cleated! so he fell in the water (laughs!!) and we had to return to pick him up but couldn’t chase back to recover. But a good first days racing in tough conditions.”  Ethan

Harry Price (Down Under Racing) from the CYCA academy in Sydney, had a very solid day with three wins and won loss. In the middle of the standings is a log jam of four teams with four wins out of eight races. These include Will Dargaville (Dargaville Racing) RPAYC, George Anyon (RNZYS Performance Programme), Will Boulden (Alpha Racing Team) RFBYC and James Hodgson  representing Mooloolaba YC in Queensland with a mixed crew.

Like a number of teams, George Anyon from Auckland got better in the latter matches.

“It was tough, we dropped the first three races and struggled to get the boat going and getting into the groove, we haven’t sailed boats similar to these back home but in the latter races we got the boat going and improved the boat handling and ended up on four wins and four losses. Really tricky conditions, shifty, patchy and cold!.”

“I have never sailed anywhere so close as this, so tight with the boundaries so close, a very different staring technique, not being able to go deep in the box, having to reach away and reach back. We had some really shocking starts in the early races but managed to claw it back and win some of those. So we are looking forward to the next few days.“

Mans Holmberg (CFA Sports) from Cape Crow YC in Sweden was getting used to the transition back from multihulls and was involved in some very tight matches but just fell short at the finishes. However maybe he was a little more familiar with the weather laid on by Perth and had good support from the Swedes on the bank cheering the team on.

A number of the teams expressed how they have been getting used to the Foundation 36 yachts and familiarity with the monohull match racing so with plenty more racing to go, tomorrow is another day.

Some tired sailors even came out to race in a Sponsors Pro/Am fleet race which was extremely close and a superb spectacle for those who had left work in the city to take the short walk to the quayside to watch the racing. The Pro/Am race was won by Matt Jerwoods team with sponsor The Lucky Shag Water Front Bar aboard. Bil Richardson and Bec Needham.

The forecast for the second day of round robin matches is for more rain showers possibly clearing in the afternoon and some more tricky E/SE breezes, so standby for more intense match racing.

Racing is scheduled to take place between 1230pm and 7pm (local time. Listen in on 106.5FM Radio streamed live via the website

Standings after Day 1 – Round Robin 1:

Sam Gilmour (Neptune Racing) RFBYC AUS – 4 – 0

Chris Steele (36 Below Racing) RNZYS NZL – 4 – 0

Will Dargaville (Dargavllle Racing) RPAYC AUS – 4 – 4

George Anyon (RNZYS Performance Programme) NZL – 4 – 4

Will Boulden (Alpha Racing Team) RFBYC AUS – 4 – 4

James Hodgson (Mooloolaba YC) MYC AUS – 4 – 4

Harry Price (Down Under Racing) CYCA AUS – 3 – 1

Lachy Gilmour (Gilmour Racing Team) RFBYC AUS – 2 – 2

Matt Jerwood (Redline Racing) SoPYC AUS – 1 – 3

Mans Holmberg (CFA Sports) CCYC SWE – 1 – 3

Ethan Prieto-Low (Calypso Racing) RFBYC AUS – 1 – 3

Leonard Takahashi (RNZYS Performance Programme) NZL – 0 – 4

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by Jonny Fullerton, Warren Jones International Youth Regatta

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