Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Royal St. George Crew Finish Fifth at International Youth Match Racing Championship

8th December 2023
Racing at the 2023 International Youth Match Racing Championship in Australia
Racing at the 2023 International Youth Match Racing Championship in Australia Credit: Alex Dare

Ireland's Tom Higgins, Jamie McMahon, Fiona Ferguson, Xavier McLachlan and Riley Evans from Dun Laoghaire's Royal St. George Yacht Club have finished fifth overall at the Harken International Youth Match Racing Championship in Australia.

In a thrilling final between Ben Tylecote from GBR representing Rutland Sailing Club and Zac West from AUS representing the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, West took the first 2 wins in a best-of-five finals showdown. Tylecote returned with true determination in a neck-and-neck race to take race 3. Race 4 had both teams switching positions, West with a 2-point lead only needed one more race win to take the championship. Every decision counted!

West inched ahead to take the win and the celebrations started!

Both West and Tylecote fought hard throughout today's races, winning by the smallest of margins through their respective Semi-Final matches with straight wins against Frewin from NZL and Kemp from Australia to make it to the final.

Pittwater stayed true to its form, making racing tricky for all competitors with its flicky weather. Competition was close across all teams, with the smallest of errors costing them the win.

Principle Race Officer, Ted Anderson claimed the 29th Harken International Youth Championship as his best event ever, not from just the skill of the teams, the quality of umpires, and his champion team on water but from the comradery and mateship of all involved in the event.

Chief Umpire Richard Slater who umpires America Cup events, Sail GP and advisers many classes on rules stated that "Ümpiring for the Harken Event this week with his fellow umpires has been an absolute joy, all the teams showed exceptional sportsmanship, took on our feedback and rulings without dispute. Truly made it a pleasure to be a part of the event".

2023 Overall Places

10th Place: Hugo Butterworth (AUS)
Bayley Taylor
Walter Tuite
Josh Paulson
Annabelle Sampson

9th Place: Mia Lovelady (AUS) Matilda Rowell
Rosie Rowell
Drina Bucktin
Sophie Townes

8th Place: Rory Sims (NZL)
Ella Arnold
Ethan Fong
Harry McMullen
Sam Scott

7th Place: Richard Rychlik Jr (CAN)
Jack Porter
Cameron Bruce
Rachel Green
Josh Hyde

6th Place: Nicolas Bernal (BRA)
Marcos Arndt
Bruna Patricio
Carolina Witsiers
Gabriel Michaelis

5th Place: Tom Higgins (IRL)
Jamie McMahon
Fiona Ferguson
Xavier McLachlan
Riley Evans

4th Place: Jack Frewin (NZL)
Oliver Gilmour
Oliver Lloyd
Sofia Higgott

3rd Place: Daniel Kemp (AUS)
William Hough
Lachlan Wallace
Charlie Verity
Isabella Holdsworth

2nd Place: Ben Tylecote (GBR) Freya Pembury
Jamie Tylecote
Finian Morris
Terry Hacker

1st Place &
Champions Zac West
Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (AUS) Jameson Prescott
James Hayhoe
Emily Keg
Katina Casimaty Team

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About Match Racing

A match race is a race between two competitors, going head-to-head.

In yacht racing, it is differentiated from a fleet race, which almost always involves three or more competitors competing against each other, and team racing where teams consisting of 2, 3 or 4 boats compete together in a team race, with their results being combined.

A match race consists of two identical boats racing against each other. With effective boat handling and clever use of wind and currents, a trailing boat can escape the grasp of the leader and pass. The leader uses blocking techniques to hold the other boat back. This one-on-one duel is a game of strategy and tactics.

About the World Match Racing Tour

Founded in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) promotes the sport of match racing around the world and is the longest running global professional series in the sport of sailing. The WMRT is awarded ‘Special Event’ status by the sport’s world governing body – World Sailing – and the winner of the WMRT each year is crowned World Sailing Match Racing World Champion. Previous champions include Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Taylor Canfield (USA), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Bertrand Pace (FRA), Jesper Radich (DEN), Phil Robertson (NZL) and Ian Williams (GBR). Since 2000, the World Match Racing Tour and its events have awarded over USD23million in prize money to sailors which has helped to contribute to the career pathway of many of today’s professional sailors