Field thinning at Musto International Youth Match Racing Regatta

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Sydney, Australia (November 28, 2019) – Two semi-finalists have been decided on Day 3 of the Musto International Youth Match Racing Regatta as Matthew Whitfield (GBR) delivered a knockout blow to defending champion Frankie Dair (USA) in today’s Quarter-Finals, scoring 3-0, to book his berth in tomorrow’s semi-finals. Whitfield is currently joined by Jordan Stevenson (NZL), whom also went 3-0 over Australia’s Finn Tapper.

Before heading into the Quarter-Finals though, the Race Committee had a small task of not only finishing off the round-robin qualifying stage but as the eight-team repechage stage. All in all, 43 races were completed, with six of the 12 teams now knocked out of contention for this year’s ‘Joy Ride’ Perpetual Trophy.

It was another postcard sailing day on Sydney Harbour with 8-18 knots blowing from the north-east. There were early upsets from the beginning of the day. The final flight of the round-robin saw Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s (CYCA) James Hodgson snag the final Top 4 spot when Dair losing to David Wood (USA) and Hodgson beating Tapper.

This saw Dair fall into the repechage round along with Tom Grimes (AUS), Jed Cruickshank (AUS), Jeffrey Petersen (USA), Wood, Tapper, Niall Malone (AUS), and Niall Powers (IRL).

Stage 2 of the regatta saw Grimes, the current Youth Match Racing World Champion, dominate the proceedings topping the round with a 6-1 scorecard. Petersen, representing Balboa Yacht Club, also seemed to benefit from more time in the Elliott 7m improving throughout the day to score 5-2, along with fellow American Frankie Dair.

CYCA’s Tapper was the final team to qualify for the quarter-finals, with a 4-3 scorecard. At the end of Stage 2, four competitors were unfortunately knocked out with Powers climbing from 12th to 9th in the repechage, Wood finished in 10th, Malone in 11th, and after an impressive qualifying stage which saw him initially qualify in 7th, Cruickshank unfortunately slipped to 12th.

Moving into the quarter-finals, there was an upset from the start with Petersen dominating Nick Egnot-Johnson in the opening race. Petersen looked set to record a second victory over the World #2 when he again penalized him in the pre-start and led down the first run. A poor tactical decision at the gate saw Egnot-Johnson wipe his penalty and take the lead to level the series. Egnot-Johnson then took a comfortable victory in Race 3 to now lead the series 2-1 heading into the final day.

In the other quarter-final, it is once again the two inseparable competitors and ex-teammates of Hodgson and Grimes matching up against each other. The World Champions were never more than a few lengths away from each other during the entire series which will be decided on the final day of racing.

It was inevitable that it would be tight racing between these two and they didn’t disappoint. Hodgson got the early jump in Race 1, whilst Grimes came from behind to take out Race 2 by only 1 second. Race 3 then got extremely aggressive between the two with Grimes having contact with Hodgson around the bottom gate, resulting in significant damage to Hodgson’s boat. However, Grimes managed to overtake and extend from Hodgson to complete his penalty turn and take the series lead. Back at the CYCA though, Grimes was found in breach of heavy contact and was award a 0.75pt penalty for the collision.

Tomorrow is the final day of the event, where a new champion of the “Joy Ride” trophy will be crowned with the completion of the knock-out rounds.

Twelve international teams from Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, Great Britain, and Ireland will compete in the four-day 2020 Musto International Youth Match Racing Regatta on November 26-29 in Sydney, Australia.

Teams will compete in the Elliott 7 Class boats with the format beginning with a single round robin round that advances the top four teams to the Quarter Finals while the bottom eight teams move to the Repechage Round to fight for the remaining four slots, after which the knockout rounds will advance the two surviving teams to the Finals.

Source: CYCA, sailingscuttlebutt

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