Sail Melbourne dress rehearsal for Australian Sailing Youth Team ahead of 2017 Youth Sailing World Champs

Sail Melbourne International 2017 (29 Nov – 3 December 2017) will be the dress rehearsal event for the 2017 Australian Sailing Youth Team, who will be representing Australia at the 2017 Youth Sailing World Championship to take place in Sanya, China from 9 to 16 December 2017.

Sail Melbourne will be a welcome opportunity for Australia’s up and coming sailors to spend time together as a team and have a final hit-out before leaving for China from Melbourne two days after the event.

“The main goal of our training camp and Sail Melbourne is for the team to gel and to get to know each other whilst fine tuning their skills. It will be valuable time to grow as team as they need to be ready to have each others backs should any adversity present whilst away at the Youth Worlds,” Australia Sailing’s Performance Pathway Officer Tristan Brown said.

“There are many new timers on the team and Sail Melbourne will be a great opportunity for everyone to get to know each other both in and outside of competition times, and to be getting some great racing in to prepare them well for China,” Team lead and Olympic champion Belinda Stowell agreed. “I hope they really enjoy Sail Melbourne and continue to try and compete in the regatta and progress into Olympic classes where they get the chance to race and sail even more.”

The 2017 Australian Sailing Youth team is a mix of new faces along with a few sailors who represented Australia at the 2016 Youth Worlds in Auckland last December and includes U17 freestyle windsurfing world champion Alex Halank, who holds the national title in four windsurfing disciplines (freestyle, free race, slalom and wavesailing).

Halank, who already sailed at Sail Melbourne International last year before heading over to the 2016 Youth Sailing World Championships in New Zealand is looking forward to racing in Melbourne and the opportunity to line up next to his Australian Sailing Team role models.

“Melbourne is a fantastic opportunity to get in form before China and sail with some great RSX sailors like Joanna Stirling (AST). I'm also really looking forward to getting together with the rest of the Australian Sailing Youth Team and our coaches before we leave for China. It will be our first opportunity to get to know each other,” the 16-year old said.

“This will be my second Youth Sailing Worlds and since I was one of the youngest competitors in New Zealand, I am hoping to see an improvement on my performance,” Halank, who is also aiming to qualify for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, added about his goals for China.

2014 Australian Youth Olympic Laser radial sailor Elyse Ainsworth and Australian Sailing Squad member is also part of the team of 14 Australian Youth Team sailors, who will represent Australia in China and is looking forward to getting together with the team.

“It looks like a fantastic group that we have and a great mix of sailors. I’ve already done one trip to Japan with half the group and I can’t wait to meet the others! I am sure that we will be a really close team and help each other along the way,” Ainsworth said.

“Sail Melbourne is a good opportunity to make those final little adjustments leading into the Youth Worlds in China and I’ll just do the best that I can and trust that my hard work will pay off,” Ainsworth added about her expectations for Sail Melbourne.

In Melbourne the Laser Radial Olympic fleet and Laser Radial Invited Class will race together making it a larger fleet and a welcome opportunity for Elyse Ainsworth, who is in her last youth year with her eyes set on Tokyo 2020. 

“It’s an exciting thing leaving the youth fleet and every senior regatta is an opportunity to improve my skills and race against the very best in Australia and in the world. Tokyo Is definitely on my radar and every year is a stepping-stone in my personal development and to be as competitive as possible against the open women and large fleets,” Ainsworth said about the tasks ahead.

With 18-years of age, Ainsworth is the oldest representative on the Australian Youth Sailing Team and will be happy to share her experience with the newcomers on the team.

“I think my best advice would be that they just have to enjoy the moment and relax and do the very best that they can; no one can ask anything more. I know focusing on one race at a time and not worry about overall results can help in keeping it all together. If they are young, they have plenty more Youth Worlds to experience, so enjoy the moment and see where it takes you.”

The Australian Sailing Team and Australian Sailing Youth Team’s participation at Sail Melbourne International will give other competitors a rare opportunity to mix it up with Australia’s up and coming talent, world champions and Olympic medallists on the Port Phillip racetrack. Competing along side their Olympic heroes offers an aspirational pathway for up and coming young sailors in the Invited, Junior and Youth classes.

The Australian Sailing Youth Team is expected to arrive in Melbourne on November 28 and will be training and racing out of Royal Brighton Yacht Club.

Sail Melbourne International 2017 offers a full program for Olympic and Invited classes and includes the Inaugural Victorian Foiling Kites State Championships. The event will be raced in a split format with four days of racing for the Olympic Classes (Wed 29th to Sat 2nd Dec) and three days (Fri 1st to Sun 3rd Dec) for the majority of the Invited Classes.

Entries for Olympic and Invited classes close 27 November 2017.

For more information and the Notice of Race see

Online entries can be made here:

Volunteer registrations can be made here:

The 2017 Australian Sailing Youth Team members are:

Girls single-handed (Laser Radial): Elyse Ainsworth, Royal Perth Yacht Club & Fremantle Sailing Club, WA

Boys single-handed (Laser Radial): Caelin Winchcombe, Fremantle Sailing Club & Geographe Bay, WA

Girls Windsurfer (RSX): Hailey Lea, Lake Cootharaba Sailing Club, QLD

Boys Windsurfer (RSX): Alex Halank, Georges River Sailing Club, NSW

Boys double-handed (420): Otto Henry, Woollahra Sailing Club, NSW and Rome Featherstone, Fremantle Sailing Club, WA

Girls double-handed (420): Laura Harding and Eleanor Grimshaw of Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron, VIC

Boy’s skiff (29er): Henry Larking and Miles Davey of Woollahra Sailing Club, NSW

Girl’s skiff (29er): Jasmin Galbraith and Chloe Fisher of Sandy Bay Sailing Club, TAS

Nacra 15 Open: Shannon Dalton and Jayden Dalton of South of Perth Yacht Club, WA

CLICK HERE for the Australian Youth Team Profiles

For more info on the Youth Sailing World Championships see here: 

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