Racing commenced today in the waters off RSYS for the annual Hardy Cup Sydney International Match Racing Regatta for under 25s.
It's the next stop in the established Trans-Tasman youth match racing summertime series which starts in Australia’s west and travels east, all the way to New Zealand.
One of two international teams coming off the Warren Jones Regatta finale in Perth on Friday is Nick Egnot-Johnson and his Knots Racing team representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Knots Racing head to Sydney buoyed from their fourth overall at the popular west coast regatta.
“As a team we made big improvements at the Warren Jones Regatta,” said Egnot-Johnson as he boarded a flight across the continent. “We are feeling confident with our boat handling and course tactics; coming into the Hardy Cup we are hoping to keep up this rate of improvement. We love the tight racing, well maintained boats and social atmosphere at the Hardy Cup. Last year I sailed the regatta with George Anyon and we are hoping to better our result of second place.”
Egnot-Johnson is the Hardy Cup’s top-ranked skipper based on world standings. He’ll meet the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s current Open Match Racing champion James Hodgson, the highest-ranked Aussie skipper on the starter’s list, and other names recognised in youth match racing circles like Finn Tapper (CYCA).
Charlie Welsh’s Red Star Sailing team from the New York Yacht Club is the second overseas entry to contest the Warren Jones and Hardy Cup double.
In 2018 Clare Costanzo’s Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club all-women team made history when they broke an 18-year run of male skippers adding their name to the under 25 trophy. Final 2018 highlights video. In 2019 the host club’s Charlotte Griffin is the only female skipper, and she knows the teams coming off the Warren Jones have the advantage of being in-phase.
“They have a regatta under their belts and are coming off some really tough conditions competing against a very tough field,” Griffin acknowledged. “Next week is looking light and given we are off-weight that might work to our advantage, plus we know the area off Kurraba Point and Cremorne Point well, and how tricky it can be in a light nor’easter. Last year I had an all-female team but I changed to a mixed crew for the Harken and Musto youth regattas, and I’m going with a mixed crew for the Hardy Cup. I’m feeling confident - I just hope we’ve done enough preparation.”
RSYS is fielding 2 teams. LtoR: Coach Nev Wittey, Marlena Berzins, Mitch Evans, Nick Rozenauers (skipper), Alex Rozenauers, Zac Quinlan, Jack Littlechild, Charlotte Grey, Charlotte Griffin (skipper), Charlotte Alexander, Madi Kornman.
Tasmania and the Derwent Sailing Squadron will be represented for the first time in the prestigious Hardy Cup. Skipper Will Sargent, the current schools match racing and SB20 youth national champion who is fresh from keelboat racing the Sydney 36cr Philosopher at the Australian Yachting Championship in Melbourne and Festival of Sails at Geelong, is leading Taz Racing Team.
Hardy Cup organiser Locky Pryor, the RSYS’s youth and training coordinator, says the 2019 edition has attracted a higher quality of interest with 25 expressions whittled down to 11 teams, four international and seven national teams sailing for their respective host clubs in the Northern Territory, Tasmania and New South Wales.
Sunday February 3, 2019 is a dedicated weigh-in and practice day and Monday morning all teams head out on Sydney Harbour aboard the host club’s fleet of Elliott 7s to begin the rigorous four-day series. Racing is due to commence off the Squadron clubhouse at Kirribilli from 1020hrs on Monday February 4 and 0920hrs thereafter. The five-stage competition is as follows: stage 1 - a single round robin, stage 2 - a single round robin, stage 3 - quarter final knockout & semi-final knockout, stage 4 - petit final knockout and stage 5 - the final knockout.
After the Hardy Cup the youth match racing caravan continues east, to New Zealand and Wellington’s Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club’s CentrePort Youth Match Racing Championship February 13 – 17. Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s Nespresso Youth International Match Racing Cup in Auckland, February 21 – 24, marks the fourth and final event in the series before sailors return to work and study.
History of the Hardy Cup
The RSYS youth sailing program commenced in 1960 and in 2001 the club hosted the inaugural Hardy Cup, the trophy donated by longstanding regatta Patron Sir James Hardy who wanted to foster the match racing and tactical skills of young sailors.
Article by Lisa Ratcliff
Photos by Darcie C photography