Chris Steele, a new member of Royal Akarana Yacht Club, along with James Delegat and their crew have won the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta in Perth.
The match racing event takes place annually and this is the second time that Steele and his 36 Below Racing team have taken the title.
Steele is no stranger to match racing and was the first skipper signed to the World Match Racing Tour for this years series.
Delegat, who was the youngest sailor to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race on board Giacomo, joined Steele for this regatta due to his determination shown during that race.
Steele recently joined RAYC and has become a regular crew member on Anatole Masfen’s TP52 Temptation and was part of that team who recently finished third across all division in A Division at Bay of Islands Sailing Week.
Here’s what he had to say about the regatta:
Well it was nice to be able to finally get some yachting in with James! We have talked about it for a while but our schedules didn’t allow it, until now.
We were all a bit rusty after a bit of time off from sailing itself let alone match racing keelboats.
The Foundation 36 yachts are a boat that rewards slick crew work all the way round the track, and with a completely new team our aim was to just try and get better and better throughout the week so that we could hopefully be there on the last day and in with a chance.
It’s fair to say things went slightly better than planned, it took the boys next to no time to adjust to the style of racing and the boats, and from front to back we got better and better with each day.
Notching up a total of 17 wins from 20 races in the double round robin we topped the leaderboard and had the right to select our opponent. The boys all agreed we should race the other Kiwi in the semi final, to ensure there was a trans Tasman clash in the final regardless of the results.
It was a tough semi final against George Anyon and after collecting a penalty in the first race we managed to clear it and pass him again winning match 1 to go up 1-0.
In race two we had an issue in the pre-start and tore the leech cord from our jib. This inevitably meant we would go 1-1 and a sudden death. We were a bit slow to start and had to come from behind but managed to do so to advance to the grand final.
We would race Sam Gilmour after he defeated Matt Jerwood in the other semi 2-0.
A much anticipated match up the boys stepped up their game a won race one. In race two we trailed for most of the race and failed to capitalise on a small opportunity and lost the win.
In race three we inflicted a penalty on Sam at the start and we launched off the line only to find the umpires signalled that we had broken a rule and gave us an immediate red flag penalty. This put us behind for the whole race and it wasn’t until the final run where we got a sniff and the boys crew work and tactics managed to turn around the three lengths that we trailed at the top, to win by half a meter right at the end.
Race four we won the start and got the first shift and from there we never looked back. A perfect performance both tactically and mechanically and we sailed away to win by some six boat lengths.
The boys were stoked, we won the event two years ago but this years victory was much more solid. Leading the regatta from Day 1, it’s an awesome way to start the year.
I had a great time sailing with James who owned the bow, and with a perfect score of “1 from 1” im sure it won’t be long till we team up again.