Natasha Miller writes, ‘With westerly winds gusting up to 28 knots, 15 degrees felt like five, but the sun was shining and Georges River Sailing Club turned on the charm at the East Coast Championship over the June long weekend.
RSYS was represented by 23 Youth sailors, across the Optimist, Laser and Windfoil fleets. The regatta also featured 29er and Techno 293 classes.
Jack Littlechild (coach), James Hayhoe, Nathan Deng, Isabel Payne, Ali Braden, Harriet McLachlan, Massimo Henderson & Jasper Kinsman
The sailors had been training hard for the event; the performance Optis practised on Botany Bay the week before and all squads attended a special theory session on local tide and weather, prepared by Dan Constandi.
Dan, who represents RSYS, GRSC and DBSC, placed first in the Radial division ahead of Brooke Wilson (3rd), Quentin Burns (7th), Ashton Scott (8th), Hamish Crabb (9th) James Hayhoe (10th), Nathan Deng (11th), Isobel Payne (12th) and Massimo Henderson (13th).
In the 4.7s, the places shifted as the wind dropped on the final day. RSYS results were Ben Constandi (4th), Ali Braden (5th and first woman), Harriet McLachlan (8th) and Jasper Kinsman (12th).
Dan, Ben, Ali, Harriet and Brooke will head to Portugal to compete in the Worlds in July 2022.
In the Windfoils, Amelia Wilson finished 8th, with a 3rd and a 5th on day 3.
Green squad sailors: Romilly Brown, Isabella Taylor & Lauren Tandy
In the Optimists, the wind on day 1 was at the upper limit for Intermediate racing, and the RO Jeremy Atkinson was ‘very impressed’ with their performance. That day saw Nick Van Kerkwijk chalk up two 1sts, which set him up for 2nd overall in the Intermediate fleet on day 3, followed by Olivia Lee (7th and second girl), Patrick McLachlan (10th), Brodie Kinsman (20th) and Rory Miller (21st).
The Open Optimist fleet sailed all three days. Raphael McLachlan finished 18th, with a 10th being his top result. Apart from his impeccable starts, his highlight was tangling with the race leaders on a hotly-contested mark rounding and coming out on top.
Intermediate fleet sailors: Olivia Lee, Brodie Kinsman, Rory Miller, Nick Van Kerkwijk & Patrick McLachlan
Meanwhile, while Raffa was slogging it out on the course, the rest of the Optis took advantage of the wind-hold to build a mammoth sandcastle, while parents checked out the menu upstairs in the club.
Last but not least, we had three competitors in the Optimist Green Fleet which races under the Introductory Rules of Sailing. Lauren Tandy was awarded “most improved” in her Opti debut, while Isabella Taylor got her first “bullet” and Romilly Brown proved that she could handle 20 knots or 2 knots with equal confidence.
Day 3 ended with a trek home to unload, followed by impromptu drinks and toasted marshmallows at the Youth pontoon BBQ.
Many thanks to NSWIODA and GRSC for another challenging regatta. Cheers also to the volunteers who make Youth sailing happen every week – particularly Mark, Richard, Charlie T and Sophie for towing, Michelle helping on start, and Rhian and Andrew for support RIB and photography.
We are very grateful to the RSYS Foundation for supporting our youth sailors in their campaigns. For more information on how to get involved click www.rsys.com.au/academy/ or pop down to the lawn any Sunday. ‘