Eleven skippers including Alastair Hall from the UK sign up for annual Australian regatta 23/1/07

For the first time in the five year history of the Warren Jones Youth Regatta, there will be no New Zealand skippers, but the Japanese are making their debut, while the Swedes are back after a gap, and the British are returning.

Eleven skippers under the age of 25 have accepted their invitations to contest the event in memory of the man who was the moving force behind Australia II’s famous victory in the 1983 America’s Cup.

Evan Walker from Sydney’s Cruising Yacht Club of Australia leads a strong contingent of challengers from the eastern states of Australia, with a world ranking of 47, he starts the event as the favourite, having finished third last year sailing as tactician to fellow Sydneysider Seve Jarvin.

There are two local challengers who look particularly strong this year, with Royal Perth Yacht Club’s Torvar Mirsky ranked at 51 in the world, while Keith Swinton from South of Perth Yacht Club is 83rd on the ranking ladder.

Both these skippers have done this event since it’s inaugural year in 2003, and both have improved dramatically in the past 12 months, chalking up some impressive results on the international scene.

Torvar Mirsky has travelled to New Zealand and finished second in Wellington, and he won in Auckland, then in the northern hemisphere scored third places in America and Germany, before returning to be runner up in the Australian Open Championships.

The highlight of Keith Swinton’s year, after finishing second in the ’06 Warren Jones event, was a win at Cowes International Youth Week in England, and he also won the W.A. State Match Racing Championships, and led the state’s victorious team at the National Team Racing Championships.

English skipper Alastair Hall is back for a third attempt at the Warren Jones Regatta, and is hoping to improve on his 6th place last year, which was a big step up from 10th place in 2005.

Yuki Nagahori is the first Japanese skipper to contest the event, and has specialized in match racing at home, where he won both the Spring Match Racing and the Youth Match Racing in Hayama.

John Back comes from one of the toughest match racing training grounds in the world, Sweden, where many of the young sailors aspire to climb the world ranking ladder, mixing it with the seniors he did exceptionally well to take 6th place at last year’s Dubai Match Race Championships.

The event, which is hosted by the Royal Perth Yacht Club, and will be sailed in Foundation 36 yachts, runs from 29 January to 1 February, 20 years after Australia’s unsuccessful defence of the America’s Cup.

Competitor list
Evan Walker AUS (CYCA) 47 Ranking

Torvar Mirsky AUS (RPYC) 51 Ranking

Keith Swinton AUS (SoPYC) 83 Ranking

Mark Dorling AUS (RSYS) 93 Ranking

Yuki Nagahori JPN (JYMRA) 105 Ranking

Alastair Hall GBR (O&CSS) 118 Ranking

John Back SWE (GSYS) 157 Ranking

Murray Gordon AUS (RPAYC) 207 Ranking

Tom Barker AUS (CYCA) 273 Ranking

Peter Nicholas AUS (RFBYC) 578 Ranking

Nick Deussen AUS (CYCoSA) 1428 Ranking