For the first time in 30yrs of the event, racing in the Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship was abandoned late in the afternoon on the final day before any racing took place due to weather conditions on Pittwater.

As a result, the final placings were based on the team’s Round Robin results and placings in the Semifinals, which saw Ethan Prieto-Low from Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club crowned the 2022 Winner! A well-deserved win.

What would have seen teams pushing their limit to outsail each other on Sunday was never to be in what can only be explained as a ‘crazy day’, that’s sailing where mother nature rules in the end.

Even with the last day not going to plan, teams had a great opportunity to socialize and enjoy the downtime on Pittwater. For some teams, they only have a day’s rest before their next event on Sydney Harbour.

The Championship had seen ideal racing conditions on Pittwater leading into the final day of racing. As predicted though, Pittwater was frothing and choppy come Sunday, as the wicked wind from the West, blasted across the ‘Big Pond’ with gusts of up to 27knts and averaging a solid 21knts.

The race committee vessel displayed ‘AP’ as the fleet sheltered under the lee of Longnose Point as they reassessed racing in the morning. “We’re in for a bit of a wait…” said this week’s Race Officer Ted Anderson. But as the day drew on and conditions suitable for racing on Pittwater grew a distance reality the decision was made to abandon racing for the Championship with Anderson and chief umpire Fels left to do the sums to announce the winner at the Presentation.

Second place at the 2022 Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship went to Max Paul (RSYS) and third to Max Brennan (BYC) from the USA.
First, second and third place took home match racing points plus a well-earnt bundle of cash each, thanks to the event’s naming rights sponsor of 26 years, Harken Australia.

“You guys have been written into the event’s history books and Harken is proud to be a part of it,” Grant Pellew, Managing Director of Australasia said at the awards presentation. “There are a lot of top youth teams who come to this event but it’s also about those youth teams who aren’t ranked, but who get the chance to learn from the others, and maybe make it to the top one day.”

  1. Winners of the Rockin’ Robin Perpetual Trophy and taking home $1300 in prizes money – Ethan Prieto-Low from Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
  2. Max Paul from Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron – Taking home $750 in prizes money
  3. Max Brennan from Balboa Yacht Club – Taking home $550 in prize money
  4. Marcello Torre (RFBYC)
  5. Josh Hyde (RNZYS)
  6. D’Arcy Kemp (RPAYC)
  7. Brayden Hamilton (RNZYS)
  8. Daniel Kemp (RPAYC)
  9. Chelsea Williams (CYCA)
  10. Kevin Le Dreau (CNC)

The ‘Umpires’ Award is new for 2022 and presented by the Chief Umpire and this is awarded for 2022 for the youngest skipper and team – Kevin Le dreau from CNC (FRA) taking home $400 in prize money.

The Harken’s striking perpetual Rockin’ Robin Trophy was originally donated to by Robyn Wiltshire-Newman. It is named after a crew of young Australian men, including her husband and son plus other club members, who along with their boat Rockin’ Robin were tragically lost at sea back in 1990 en route to Fiji.
Ethan Prieto-Low joins a long list of past Harken winners engraved on the trophy, some of whom have gone on to represent their countries and sailing at the highest levels.

Brendan Rourke