Following the Nacra 15 Nationals and Australian Youth Championships in Hobart, my skipper moved out of the class and I was offered the opportunity to sail with Georgia Payne. This is a great opportunity the only downside was that she lives and trains in Mandurah south of Perth. We have been getting in as much training as we can, given the difficult commute from one side of the country to the other, but along with our coach Mikael Lundh, we have developed a great team.
We headed over to the UK in early April to compete in our first regatta together – the RYA Youth National Championships which were being held at WPNSA, the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. We started the regatta with what looked to be a top 3 result but due to a little mix up with marks, we got a Retired along with the other Aussie team and our German training partners. Once we got that little hurdle out of the way, we started putting in a solid score card in the mixed conditions. An incident at the top mark with a 420 led to a capsize, helmet and boat damage, but worse was the 12th place we ended up with. That came back to hurt us at the end of the regatta, when we were in medal position on the last day but jumped the gun in the penultimate race and got a UFD. The committee said it was literally millimetres over, but over is over. At the end of the regatta, we were 4th overall, a result we were stoked with, but a bit sad about what could have been.
Did I say it was cold! It was very cold. Each time you got hit by a wave it took your breath away!
After this regatta and more hard training we were lucky enough to followed it up with another trip to Europe this time we took part in the in Holland, the Dutch Youth Regatta in Workum, Netherlands. Competing with my new skipper Georgia we took to the water in 17 races against a 42-strong fleet made up of the best youth Nacra teams from across 15 participating countries, where 4 of the nations competing used this as the qualifying regatta for the Youth Worlds position. After a tough few days of racing and continual focus on the challenges on the race course, Georgia and I took out first place overall to take the gold medal. Our victory included five first-place finishes, three seconds and a third, enough to fend off teams from Germany and France who finished just behind us. The Dutch Youth Regatta was so much fun and is one of the largest sailing events in Europe, and acts as event two of the Nacra 15 European Super Series. Their victory provides them with the perfect platform to launch into the Nacra 15 Open World Championships, where they will again compete in Marseille, France in October.
We have a full schedule of training throughout the rest of the year competing in these international regattas when we can so that when the Nationals and Youths in Melbourne start at the start of 2020 we are ready with everything we have learnt over the year to do our best and hopefully grab the World Youths spot. Thank you so much for supporting us, helping and encouraging us to get out on the water and do our best!
Nathan Bryant and Georgia Payne