Victorian Youth and Australian Sailing Youth Selection Event 2022
This year Australian Sailing announced the selection regatta for the Australian Sailing Youth Team (ASYT) would be based on results from the 2022 Youth Sail Victoria event. The event is the pinnacle event for our Youth Sailors and what most of them work towards each year. Due to the travel restrictions, it was a big commitment at short notice.
For anyone wanting to follow this pathway or simply interested in the process, below is a quick rundown on the event.
27 WA sailors went over to compete.
- 7 from SoPYC
- 6 from RPYC
- 9 from RFBYC
- 6 from FSC
- 2 MOFSC
- 1 TCYC
(6 sailors have dual membership, in case you are wondering why that doesn’t add up)
Everyone knew going to Melbourne in April, would have unpredictable conditions and although the weather was great before and after the event, in the racing period, there was one day of below 3 knots which counted as a race, one day not sailable, and two days with gusts over 25 knots. So very challenging.
It was impressive seeing how all the sailors pushed hard and adapted to the conditions. To illustrate how challenging the last day was, 5 boats out of 36 broke masts in the 29er fleet.
Most boats had at least one capsize trying to cope with the very steep waves.
Hosted by Royal Yacht Club of Victoria, the event attracted over 180 youth sailors from across the country. The Laser Radial (29 entries) and 29er (36 entries) classes attracted the largest number of sailors from the regatta.
Full results from the regatta can be found here.
The Optimists were included in the Youth Event as a feeder class. Two WA sailors went over to the event and well done to SopYC’s Murray Duthie finishing 3rd in the Open division.
National Youth Camp
The regatta also acted as the selection event for the National Youth Camp, with 40 sailors invited to attend the camp immediately after the regatta.
South of Perth Yacht Club 29er girls, Annabelle and Jenna, Harry Joyner from FSC in the Windfoil and Lilli McAullay from RPYC in the Lasers attended the camp after qualifying in the top 3 in their divisions.
Video Summary of the camp below headed by SoPYC member and WAIS lead coach Matt Jerwood
What is it really like at one of the these events?
Firstly, sailors have to be prepared to come to an event like this as it attracts the best sailors from around the nation. Some sailors are close to their peak and just below the under 18 age limit for AYT selection. A few sailors have aged out but are still able to compete up to 23. There are also a number of younger sailors wanting to get a taste of their 1st Youth event so they are better prepared in the coming years. 14-year-old Joel Beashel was the youngest in the 29er fleet.
So everyone has trained well and prepared their boats and bodies before arriving.
Once arriving it’s a matter of getting everything sorted and getting acclimatised.
- Transport logistics
- Final Selection of equipment
- Checking on speed
- Getting used to launching and logistics at the club
- Getting familiar with the environment
- Final race ready preparation
- Checking measurement, registration, and other logistics
We were getting daily forecasts from our WAIS Perth based meteorologist Bruce Buckley, but also had access to Seabreeze, Predict Wind and Windy (to look at upper air movement).
Although the forecasts can’t be live as everything always changes more quickly than it can be measured, modelled, and reported, Bruce’s insight gives indications on what to look for. For example if you know the upper air level is very windy and from a different direction, then when this air mixes with the sea level air you can expect wind shifts and direction changes.
So, in prestart preparation you would be looking to find out if gusts might come from the left or the right and form a strategy around that prediction. Sometimes it came from both directions but that’s sailing. Eyes out of the boat is always very important.
The forecast was essentially for no wind with a light northerly gradient breeze battling a weak seabreeze. So two possibilities opposing each other. The Alpha course unfortunately happened to be in the middle of both breezes.
- Course was set at 125 degrees
- Wind was 90-100 mostly on first lap
- Tide was very slack at 5-7m/min which is less than 0.2 of a knot
- 29ers started in ~ 3 knots after 2 General recalls and one Postponement.
The LHS paid on the first beat but the RHS paid on the run. The breeze dropped to below 1 knots and the course was shortened as boats drifted across the line as the wind came from every direction.
20 boats were timed out and a very large redress protest ensued that night. The jury found the RO had technically done nothing wrong, which we thought would be the case, unfortunately. Even though class rules stipulate sailing should be above 4 knots.
Two days later this was reheard and boats drifting positions across the line were counted rather than a default last place.
On the Laser, 420 and Optimist Bravo course, which was closer to the city had only a northerly breeze all day and got some good racing in.
- Work on starts. Focus on getting away cleanly on the front row……
- Keep looking for opportunities and act on them!
A strong northerly with lulls down to 14 and peak gusts to 25knots. The highest reading was 27.8 in between races.
A lot of starts had significant congestion mostly at the pin or middle
Really needed to be front row very early around 2 minutes prior to the start to protect your position on the line.
Most races had 3-4 shifts on each beat which were rewarded on either side of the course with great leverage as is the case with fast boat strategy.
Downwind also had big pressure and shift changes allowing many opportunities.
No wind and no racing after waiting on the water for 3-4 hours
The final day was an epic day with very strong southerly winds ranging from 15 to 25 knots with very big steep waves.
It was also very cold and wet with the wind generally more around the 20+ knot region.
- 5 Brocken masts in the 29ers
- Only 1 Nacra left racing at the end.
- Windfoils were getting around but also getting lost in the rain and poor visibility
It was surprising that racing wasn’t canceled. There was also a lot of waiting around. Probably more waiting than racing, so sailors were very cold and tired.
Fairly amazing they were able to push hard, race, and sail well in the conditions. Hats off to anyone that was able to stay out there and even more to those that kept pushing hard.
Everyone except the first two finishes had at least one bad race on the day due to capsizes or other issues during the day
It was a great experience and WA had solid placings in all fleets so after two years of no travel or racing outside of WA it was pleasing to see our teams holding their own.
If anything it probably exposed the lack of big fleet racing back home in WA, so anything we can do to bolster numbers and come together in WA more often will help everyone.
Also, you can never have enough fitness and strength, so that would have also helped get through the particularly challenging sessions. It’s also an easy area to work on.
After the regatta, it’s always good to reflect on what went well, I think a SWOT analysis is helpful to plan training activities moving forward (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Links for Further information
Gallery of Images from the Event