The Club Marine Australian Youth Match Racing Championships
has uncovered three exciting young sailors with heaps of talent. Individually they are all proven performers, as a team they are unstoppable reports
Lisa Ratcliff.

Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Robert Bell are all just 17 years old and together they are Australia’s youth match racing sensations. The trio recently delivered their home club, the Crusing Yacht Club of Australia, its first major international trophy at the Governor’s Cup in California, followed by a win in the Harken NSW Youth Match Racing Championships and finally, the Club Marine Australian Youth Match Racing Championships held in October.

Not bad for a team that only came together at the beginning of winter.

Seve Jarvin, son of Olympic, America’s Cup and World Champion sailor Steve Jarvin, began sailing Sabots at the age of four. He moved up to Flying 11s, 29ers and finally into the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Youth Sailing Academy program where he has found his niche in match racing.

Like most teenagers, Seve is self-conscious about his success at the helm of this winning combination. “While our strategy is to break it down into little jobs, we all come together to support each other in every race,” he said following their overwhelming win in the Club Marine Australian Youth Championships sailed against eight other teams aboard the CYCA’s fleet of Elliott 6s.

Mainsheet hand Robert Bell also hails from a sailing family and has competed successfully in Flying Ants, Manly Juniors and 29ers. After completing his HSC next year, Robert plans to move into offshore racing and has a Sydney-Hobart race firmly in his sights.

For’ard hand Sam Newton is the final piece of the puzzle. Like Seve, he began sailing Sabots at a young age then moved into Flying 11s, 29ers and Elliotts. While continuing to crew aboard Geoff and Pip Lavis’ Sydney-based 50-footer UBS Wild Thing he is also dabbling in the 49er class and has recently joined Olympic sailor Nev Whittey’s Yngling 2004 Worlds campaign.

Sam’s talent is exemplified by his unique status in simultaneously holding three national sailing titles – 29er Nationals 2002-2003, 29er Youth Open Nationals 2002-2003 and now the Club Marine Australian Youth Match Racing Championship 2003.

The entrepreneur of the group, Sam, like Seve, is juggling sailing and his final year at high school but has the added pressure of operating his own marine business, All Marine.

He also attributes his squad’s outstanding success to the teamwork that has developed from a strong friendship and a gruelling training schedule.

“When you train together as hard as we have, it becomes second-nature,” says Sam.

The CYCA’s youth coach/manager, Jenni Bonnitcha, who spent every weekend during winter instructing this committed team and other Advanced Squad members in match racing techniques, acknowledges they are a magic combination.

“Seve is an outstanding helmsman and tactician, Robert rarely takes his eyes off the mainsail upwind and Sam is one of the best young for’ard hands in Australia,” says Jenni.

“During the Club Marine Regatta, other teams were spotted with all crew members looking outside the boat while on Seve’s boat, two were always looking to trim and call wind pressure for maximum boat speed while one kept an eye on their opponents.

“All three have wonderful depth to their sailing, which has come from competing successfully in a number of classes, and they are constantly maturing and developing as they acquire skills in decision making, communicating, and dealing with the psychological pressures of the sport.

“They also enjoy wonderful support from their families with all three sets of parents either watching or assisting with the race management of the Club Marine Regatta.

“As an adjunct to its international reputation as the home of the world famous Rolex Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race, the CYCA is developing a name for itself as a youth match racing leader.

“The rising pool of talent will not only help underpin our most recognised event, it will provide future champions for other high profile yachting events such as the Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup,” Jenni adds.

In fact, Seve, Robert and Sam have all hinted they would like to be part of the new generation of Australian yachting talent that will make up the recently announced OzBoyz Challenge for the XXXII America’s Cup in 2007. All three fit well within the founding rule of the campaign: that 60 per cent of the team must have been born in or after 1983, the year of Australia’s historical America’s Cup victory in Newport, USA.

Club Marine Limited is a long-term sponsor of the CYCA’s Youth Sailing Academy and taking up the naming rights of the October Australian Youth Match Racing Championships further demonstrated its commitment to youth sailing.

Conditions for the Championships, conducted by the CYCA on behalf of Yachting Australia, were mixed with rain clouds bringing sharp gusts of 20 to 30 knots from the southwest on day one.

Principal race officer Doug Talty allowed crews to fly spinnakers in only three of the first nine flights and at the end of the round robin, Jarvin and his crew remained unbeaten.

On day two, Sydney turned on a glorious spring day with a light southerly swinging to the southeast and east and ranging from a steady 12 knots down to five knots during the afternoon.

Final points after the second round robin produced a clear lead for Seve Jarvin and crew ahead of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron team of Stuart Pollard, Mark Dorling and Ian Quartley and the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club team of Tom Spithill, James Kidner and Hamish Roughly.

These places were to remain unchanged when racing was abandoned on the final day of competition due to a violent lighting strike, thunder and torrential rain that swept down the harbour.

“As crews and officials waited for the wind change to settle, a massive lightning bolt hit the water in the middle of the fleet….I could feel my hair frizzle and smell smoke,” said Jenni.

The fleet returned to the host club where CYCA director and newly appointed chairman of the CYCA Youth Sailing Academy, Matt Allen, joined Club Marine’s NSW State Manager, Simon Cook in presenting trophies.

Simon Cook said: “Club Marine has been involved with youth sailing at the CYCA for 10 years and we are proud to be involved with the National Youth Match Racing Championships. Such sponsorships are consistent with our general strategy to support sailing in various forms as well as the boating industry generally.

“It was very gratifying to see such skilled young sailors in action.

“Congratulations to the CYCA, Director Matt Allen, organiser Jenny Bonnitcha and all the volunteers who made it a well run, successful event.”