Youth Exchange Report with Tristan Brown
by Australian Sailing - Tristan Brown
The Japanese Youth Exchange was this year held in Karatsu, Japan from the 1 to 7 May with six athletes and two coaches from Australia attending.
This exchange opportunity and regatta, offers the sailors at the top of the Australian Youth Sailing Team pointscore, the opportunity to travel and race against Japan's best sailors in the 420 and Laser Radial classes.
In the Laser Radial class, unfortunately due to injury, Caelin Winchcombe was unable to attend, but he was replaced by a fellow Laser Radial sailor from Perth Zac Littlewood. Also from Western Australian, Elyse Ainsworth was the girls’ representative in the Laser Radial.
In the 420 class Otto Henry (NSW) and Rome Featherstone (WA) represented the boys while Laura Harding and Ella Grimshaw from Victoria sailed for the girls.
The team was supported by Australian Sailing Coaches, Tristan Brown and Craig Ferris.
This year the team participated in three days of training prior to the regatta and where they faced enormous fleets - 42 boats in the Laser Radial and 73 boats in the 420 class.
The regatta was held in mostly light winds with the sailors getting a mix of results. Otto and Rome were the best performing Aussies, finishing second overall in the boys 420.
Some valuable lessons were learnt and no doubt, the sailors are now better placed to be competitive at their next major regatta.
The team made the most of their time off the water, visiting a local castle, enjoying some Japanese delicacies and creating new friendships. Google Translate even got a good work out when the language barrier was proving to be difficult.
The event also gave the sailors a great opportunity to stay together and bond prior to competing as a team at the World Sailing Youth Championships in Sanya, China in December 2017.