Spearman's Swift Racing wins inaugural JESS Match Cup

Spearman's Swift Racing wins inaugural JESS Match Cup

The inaugural JESS Match Cup was held from 22 to 24 January at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth. Raced in BW8 keelboats it is a World Sailing Grade 4 Open match racing regatta.

The JESS programme was a unique annual event which offered young yachtsmen and women the opportunity to not only improve their skills as sailors but to develop their character and leadership qualities. From 1988 until 2016 around 160 young sailors participated in JESS. Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club was proud to continue the original concept which was the brain child of the Coaching Co-ordinator of the time, Huck Scott.

His plan outlined an opportunity for young sailors to embark on a journey that would provide them with not only an enjoyable experience but an environment to develop valuable personal skills and lifelong friends.

“The JESS Experience is demanding on the sailors, clubs, parents and team leaders, but the rewards are rich. The experience for the sailors is a once in a life time event”.

To honour the history in JESS to provide opportunities to young sailors with the sport of sailing as well as celebrating the hosting of the WMRT events in 2017, RFBYC have named the annual open match racing event the JESS Match Cup.


Eight teams contested this inaugural event. Held the week prior to the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta (WJIYR), also in Perth it was an excellent warm up event for the local crews. Perth turned on the expected summer wind pattern with a building southerly breeze each afternoon.

Four of the teams, skippered by Will Boulden, Conor Nicholas, Ethan Prieto-Low and Mark Spearman are entrants in the WJIYR. These teams certainly stood out with their boat handling skills and confident match racing manoeuvres throughout the event.

The younger teams were placed 5 to 7 after the Round Robin and had created quite an interesting puzzle with their tied result. Chief Umpire Garry Deane had to spend some time going through the procedure for ties to eventually rank them in order.

Placings after the Round Robin stage:


Will Boulden

7 wins


Ethan Prieto-Low

5 wins


Mark Spearman

5 wins


Conor Nicholas

5 wins


Marcello Torre

2 wins


Will Drew

2 wins


Luke Dobrich

2 wins


Sandy Anderson

0 wins



Marcello Torre’s Velocity Racing Team of Owen Ready, Raff Torre, Jaqui Swick and Oliver Mavrick challenged Intrepid Racing skippered by Will Drew with Jonathon Everett, Grayson Downes, Brock Pitcher and Rohin Kehal in a first to score 3 round.

Both of these young teams worked hard in the building breeze and were quite evenly matched. They brought the score to two all, stretching it right out to a decider match to take fifth place. For the highest placed eligible youth team of the JESS Match Cup there would be an invitation to the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta.  With the four higher ranked teams having already secured their entries, this was an important race for the two. Torre led at the final top mark rounding. The wind had increased in strength and the teams were at their limit. Drew went for a spinnaker hoist in an effort to catch up but it wasn’t enough. Velocity Racing Team secured fifth place scoring 3 to Intrepid Racing’s 2.


Skipper Will Boulden decided to meet Conor Nicholas for the first to score 3 point semi-final. They met once on Day two with Conor Nicholas beating Will Boulden.

That left Ethan Prieto-Low to match Mark Spearman with Mark’s team winning the first match.

On the final day of racing, Race Officer John Taylor held the teams onshore until the wind settled in the southerly direction and began to build.

Will Boulden won the first two matches but Conor fought back with a win just in time to level the score at 2 all. The last match was very close. After a split to head to different sides of the course at the final gate rounding, there was a lead change with Conor crossing ahead. Boulden managed to take the starboard side before the windward mark and led in to the final downwind leg. Boulden stayed ahead to go through to the final.

In the other matches Mark Spearman sealed his place in the finals with 3 to Ethan Prieto-Low’s 1.



Ethan Prieto-Low came back in better form for the Petit-Final against Conor Nicholas taking third place easily 2-0. A great effort after Conor had been sailing so well in the previous round.

Will Boulden met Mark Spearman in the battle for first and second places. The wind strengthened through the afternoon which really challenged the crews as they put on a spectacular show for those watching.

Spearman led the first match but couldn’t secure the jib after the first downwind leg and lost a bit of ground. Boulden kept chipping away at him on the windward work and took the lead all the way to the finish. Spearman fought back in the next match and evened the score.

The pre-start manoeuvre’s were exciting, both teams showing great boat handling skills. Spearman led on the downwind and when Boulden’s team broached behind them they lowered the spinnaker and took it easy. With Spearman still leading on the next downwind a gutsy Boulden hoists the spinnaker in an effort to catch him but Spearman managed to stay ahead. The score was 2-1 until Boulden levels it again.

With level scores the pair took it to the last decider match in the first to score 3 points.

The umpires give Spearman a penalty in the pre-start, he tries to get one back on Boulden but the umpires hand one out to both teams. Spearman eventually manages a penalty on Boulden during the race which cancels his out. The downwind legs with spinnakers flying were spectacular, the breeze was at the upper limit for racing. As they all sit tight on the final downwind leg to the finish focused on not losing control, Spearman manages to stay ahead to take his score to 3 and win overall.

A fantastic display of match racing and great preparation for the five teams that will go on to contest the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta from 28 January to 2 February in Perth Waters.

Coach of the RFBYC teams, Ben Durham, comments after the eventRFBYC's inaugural Jess Cup was a fantastic success. Pushing all the RFBYC Sailing Institute youth to a very high level of racing against the more experienced teams. All teams fought hard to the end with most races and finals going down to the wire. The event has provided the perfect preparation for the lead into the Warren Jones next week. Big congratulations to Mark Spearman's team on the win and all competitors and supporters involved in making the event such a great success”




Swift Racing

Mark Spearman, Luke Elliott, Rom—Ď Featherstone, James Stewart.


Alpha Racing Team

Will Boulden, Harry Hall, Emerson Carlberg, Alex Negri.


Calypso Racing

Ethan Prieto-Low, Andrew Briggs, George Boulden, Hayden Hunt.



Conor Nicholas, Liam Seagreen, Matt Linguard, Richard Maher.


Velocity Racing Team

Marcello Torre, Owen Ready, Raff Torre, Jacqui Swick, Oliver Mavrick.


Intrepid Racing

Will Drew, Jonathon Everett, Grayson Downes, Brock Pitcher, Rohin Kehal.


Hardwired Racing

Luke Dobrich, Thomas Hodge, Kai Colman, Conall Hansford, Harry Cooke.


Team VS

Sandy Anderson, Jenny Spearman, Leonie Rochford, Lyn Micha, Chris Hunt.




Click here for the event webpage. 

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