Over the Nov1/2 weekend 4 RPAYC junior sailors made the second trek down the Hume Highway within a week (ACT titles previous week) to compete in the Victorian Dinghy Championships being held at the recent YA award winning Albury Wadonga Yacht Club on the picturesque, and full, Lake Hume.
The event provided the opportunity for our young sailors to compete against the Victorian State Squad who were using the event as part of a 4 day race/ training camp leading up the the National Titles. Our team of Morgan Wells, Bella Green, Alexander Bijkerk and Oliver Gordon were keen to apply their lake racing lessons from the previous week in Canberra against the big wave sailors from Port Phillip Bay.
With no result expectations our sailors, including Morgan’s Open racing debut, set a cracking pace in race 1 with Alexander winning, Oliver second and Bella 6th… beginners luck! Race 2 was again a Alexander Ollie 1/2 and all of a sudden the realisation occurred that whilst we might not yet be big wave specialists, we did have the finesse, technique, speed and discipline to excel in flat water shifty conditions. With wind speeds exceeding 25 knots the fleet was sent ashore with all of our sailors finding themselves in the new situation of being at the front end of the fleet, exceeding expectations and with more to lose than gain as the regatta progressed.
The 4 kids were impressive in their ability to maintain their composure for the rest of the day, switch off, enjoy a great meal and get to bed ready for the 9am race time on Sunday.
Racing on Sunday was a similar gusty, shifty delight and with nerves of steel the squad set about continuing their consistent front end performances amongst several general recalls and black flags. RPAYC sailors winning all but one race of the regatta and finishing 1,2,3 and almost 4(Morgs in 7) in the final heat of the regatta. Overall Alexander became the Victorian Dinghy Champion, Oliver 2nd, Bella 5th and Morgan 8th in a 29 boat quality fleet.
The most rewarding aspect of this breakthrough performance is the fact that all of these kids are products of the RPAYC pathway of Tackers, Green fleet club training before moving into the Objective Future Champions Program which provides training standards that ensure families remain at the club whilst being able to fulfil high level aspirations. This overnight success has been years in the making and the fact that these 4 sailors are a small part of a larger similar standard group at home suggests we are on the right path.
Once again the onshore RPA family culture was first class, great company, great event and an amazing venue. The locals really enjoyed us paying a visit and the regatta will be repeated over the Melbourne Cup weekend in 2015… put it in your diary now!