Young CYCA sailors win in Japan.
Sailing against an outstanding lineup of young sailors from seven nations, the CYCA Academy team of Trent Ross (helm), Gareth Collins (main) and James ("Firecracker") Deerness (bow) won a hard-fought final, overcoming difficulties to beat the British Royal Yachting Association 2-0.
It was an outstanding effort by the crew as they had been sailing together only for only a month. However, they were well coached by John Harris and as graduates of the CYCA Youth Sailing Academy they have been sailing Elliot 5.9 sports yachts for at least two years.
The series attracted 12 teams from seven nations, including five from Australia. The others represented Great Britain, New Zealand, Canada, the USA and the host nation and included three teams of young women.
The regatta began with the teams split into two pools of six, each of which sailed a double round robin with the top four from each pool progressing to the quarter finals.
The CYCA team went through the first round robin with comfortable wins over the Canadians, Americans and Japanese girl's team in Pool B. They also won a tight race against Katie Spithill's crew from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, which left CYCA and RYA undefeated going into the last flight. In a close race highlighted by a number of penalties, some stemming from very interesting umpiring decisions, the RYA gained a close win.
In Pool A, the New Zealanders had it all their own way with five wins from five.
The CYCA crew identified a number of areas to improve upon for round robin two and set out to build upon their first day's performance, finally emerging as the leading crew in Pool B. In Pool A the Kiwis again won all five races to go through undefeated.
In the quarter-finals the CYCA crew, as winners of Pool B, was up against the fourth placed team from Pool A, Japan's Wakayama Marina Yacht Club. The Japanese showed frightening upwind speed in the first race, but the CYCA pegged them back with excellent downwind sailing, which was emerging as their strong suit. They sailed away to a hard fought victory. Race two followed much the same script with CYCA passing Japan downwind for the win that took them through to the semis.
In the other quarter-finals the winners were the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, the Royal Yachting Association and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, winning in three by the barest of margins over the girls from Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club.
The semi-finals, sailed in fresh conditions on the morning of the final day, saw the CYCA step up the level of their sailing again to defeat RSVS 2-0 with some excellent downwind sailing and a clever penalty at the top mark in the second race. This resulted in the rare sight of a flag that was not coloured green being waved by the umpires.
The other semi-final saw an upset with the previously undefeated Kiwis going down to RYA 2-0, a number of spectacular broaches not helping their cause.
The best of three final, with the wind freshening, made for exciting match racing. In the first match the CYCA overcame a broken spinnaker pole to record a solid victory with excellent downwind sailing.
The second race was fittingly the best of the regatta. RYA lead narrowly up the first beat in very fresh conditions. The CYCA went hard on attack down the first run, knowing that their gybing was superior to the English.
Coming in to the bottom mark CYCA gybed only for their traveler car to explode, leaving them astern and without an effective mainsail for the final beat. However, they remained composed and even with a flogging mainsail managed to stay close enough to the RYA to go into the final run with a chance.
The CYCA team gained some separation on the run allowing them to sail a slightly better angle in better pressure to the finish line. The RYA still looked to have the race as the boats approached the finish line until a large puff sent them into a nosedive, slowing them momentarily.
They showed great control not to broach, but the CYCA team slipped through to a one-second victory and take the Royal Pines Cup.
According to coach John Harris, the CYCA crew of Trent, Gareth and James showed a great ability to maintain their calm under pressure.
"They were able to regain their focus after a setback and to improve on their mistakes each day as the regatta went on," he said. "This is the first over seas match racing regatta that the CYCA Youth Sailing Academy has won and hopefully more will follow in the near future."