December 2016 Will Boulden Wins the 2016 HARKEN INternational Youth Match Racing Championship Will Boulden and his Alpha Racing Team from Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth have taken out the 2016 Harken International Youth Match Racing Championships after four days of racing at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club! The team of Mark Wong, Alex Negri and James Farquharson faced off against local sailor Malcolm Parker and his team from the RPAYC in some of the closest match racing that we have seen at the Harken! Boulden thanked the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club and Harken for putting on the event. He is ranked 46th in the ISAF Open Rankings and is just 20 years of age, making him one of Australia’s rising youth match racers to watch in the future. Third placed skipper was the RPAYC’s Sarah Parker and her all female team who were up against the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s Matthew Hughes. Racing went to three flights with a score of 2 to 1 in favour of the girls. Sarah accredited her team’s ability to work together as one of the major contributing factors to her success at this event. Today’s racing was close with both Parker and Boulden fighting hard for the championship title and $1000 prize money for first place. In race one Parker put the heat on Boulden shutting him out above the boat lay-line before Boulden made a sneaky come back over the start boat to win the favoured pin end of the line and win the race. The heat was on in the second race, with both teams pushing early to the start line and Boulden winning the pin end. Despite Boulden rounding the first bottom mark in the lead, Malcolm went on to take the left side of the course on the next upwind and snuck ahead to win the second race. The pressure stayed on in race three with a split tack start and Boulden carrying a penalty. The boats duelled bow to bow on the upwind with Malcolm rounding first but Boulden being able to complete his penalty on the upwind. Race three to Boulden after a close downwind and clean boat handling. This took the racing to a match point where Parker started evenly with a penalty off the line. The teams stayed close on the upwind, Parker rounding just ahead of Boulden at the top mark and then completing his penalty and staying ahead on the next upwind. The final downwind was a testament to the high level of competition seen at this year’s Harken, where Boulden managed to close the gap between the boats and Malcolm was given a double penalty just metres from the finish line.