The John XXIII College Sailing Team departed Perth for Brisbane on Saturday 27th of June, for the Australian Schools Team Racing National Championships with the team comprising of seven students accompanied by coach Tom Blaauw and manager Lisa Taylor.
The team qualified for this regatta by finishing strongly in the State Championships held in the Term 1 school holidays and as such travelled to compete in the prestigious regatta. Team racing sees a 3 v 3 situation in Puffin Pacer’s take place, with teams attempting to sail each of its 3 boats into a winning combination. This style of racing sees some intense manoeuvres and makes for short, exciting racing.
Our second day in Queensland saw the team weigh in, register and go for a practice sail in moderate conditions. Following the session the team attempted to relax before the week of sailing that was to follow.
Monday was our first day of racing. With medium wind conditions, the 24 teams began racing each other in a perfect 7-12knots. After a slow start, we finished the day with 1 win and 1 loss, a start that we as a team were happy with. After racing, a sausage sizzle was put on, giving sailors a chance to unwind and mingle with other schools.
Day two began with our routine morning walk to check the breeze, which saw a light 10 knots, which eventually died out later in the day. A very successful day on the water saw us win all 4 of our races against Canberra Girls Grammar School, St Peters, St Michaels and Hutchins. We then celebrated the days result with pizza for dinner.
Day three presented us with a real challenge. The system used for deciding who you will verse (Swiss League) see’s the more races you win, the harder the teams you verse and as a result of our success on the previous day, we were set with the challenge of versing some of the hardest teams. After a WA showdown against Scotch College we managed to come away with a win, gaining bragging rights! Unfortunately we went on to lose our races to St Leonards, Friends Red, Friends Blue and Iona (not the WA one!). Despite these tough races, we remained in high spirits and pumped for the last day of racing in order to make an attempt at making the finals.
Our fourth and final day on the water saw the conclusion of the Swiss league system and the beginning of finals. A number of teams being on equal wins coming into the day meant the final 2 races would determine the teams that were to make the top 8 and go into finals, and who would miss out. 2 tough races against St Joseph’s and Scots Gold were set to determine our fate. We managed to come away with wins in both races, leaving us 6th overall on the leader board and the opportunity to compete in finals. We were then set to verse 3rd placed Friends Red in a best of 3 scenario. Unfortunately we lost the first 2 races of this, knocking us out of finals and finishing 7th overall.
We as a team are extremely proud of this result as it meant we finished first WA team (above 8th placed Scotch College), and a highly respectable 7th out of 24 schools. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Queensland and competing in the regatta, however none of it would have been possible without the support provided by a number of people. A huge thank-you to everyone who supported us both on and off the water, this includes the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron and its volunteers for running a good regatta, Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club for their support and training facility, John Standley for providing us with a highly educational rules talk, Lisa Taylor for being our team manager and looking after us all, Tom Blaauw our coach, Andrew Locke for his tireless work towards the team for many years, Sheryl Murphy, John XXIII College and its community, and of course our parents. We now look to have some time off from schools team racing sailing as we each go back to taking part in our individual sailing endeavours before preparing ourselves for the Western Australian State Schools Team Racing Championships in the term 1 school holidays next year.
Ethan Prieto-Low (Co-Captain & Skipper)
Maddi Taylor (Co-Captain & Skipper)
Olivia Stowell (Skipper)
Aaron De Longville (Crew)
Florian Mitteregger (Crew)
Jacqui Harding (Crew)
Mackenzie Tayor (Crew)
By Ethan Prieto-Low and Maddi Taylor