The Australian summer kicked off with Sail Sydney. It was a windy regatta with cold southerly winds blowing all week, providing some great conditions to build on my strength and fitness in the boat. We had a big rolling swell coming through the heads on the first day of racing which make the down-winds really awesome being able to surf the waves. The southerly wind had built stronger by the second day so the race committee was forced to move the racing area up the harbour out of the swell, where three races were completed in 20-30 knot winds. The third day was cancelled due to strong winds, but two more races were able to be completed on the last day which secured the final positions of the regatta. It was tight racing between the top 5 sailors, I finished 4th overall and 3rd female.
Link to results: https://sailingresults.net/sa/results/overall.aspx?ID=81495.10
The ILCA Australian Open and Youth Championships was an extremely competitive regatta that took place on Botany Bay. Not only was it the first national event since the start of 2020, but of the 83 competitors in the ILCA 6 class, 14 of them were international competitors. The first day we had perfect weather with a 15 knot building sea breeze, where I had a great first race coming 2nd. Despite the unstable conditions from the SE the next day, I managed to score 2 more consistent results - 3rd & 4th. The southerly change forecasted for the rest of the regatta meant we couldn't do any racing for the next two days. The final series on the last two days was great fun and was full of learnings in shifty conditions. I finished 9th overall and placed 1st U19 and 1st U21.
the third regatta was Sail Melbourne, held at Royal Brighton Yacht Club. The 5 day regatta was full of a wide range of conditions which was a great challenge. There were some really hot days with wind from the north making it really tricky sailing and other days wind from the south with big waves. I finished 9th overall.
Media interview - 2022 Australian Sailing Youth Sailor of the Year, Saunders is enjoying the mix of conditions on offer this week.“We knew today was going to be a tricky day because of the forecast northerly,” said Saunders. “The first day of racing offered some pretty tough conditions, so I had a few goals for today and I am pretty happy with how I went with them.”
Link to results: https://sailingresults.net/sa/results/overall.aspx?ID=81387.2
Great interview by NSW Institute of Sport here: https://www.nswis.com.au/nswis-news/sailing-towards-big-goals/?fbclid=IwAR23aBmGuIvTnCR0b3d_XHpW-MFUxpzJCueg_a1H5vgDAvxpUw2z3Dk-2iM
To wrap it all up, on the eve of Australia Day I was awarded the 2023 Northern Beaches Sportsperson of the Year!
"It's really exciting to be awarded for my hard work and dedication to my sport. My sailing has taken me to some amazing places in the world but I can still honestly say that my favourite place to sail is here, offshore at Manly, in the waves, dodging the ferries. It makes it so much easier to get up and train all through winter when you have the most beautiful ocean to do it in. I'm really grateful and inspired for the year ahead. This year is Olympic selection year, plus I have to fit in my HSC somehow, so it's going to be a big one."
2023 Australia Day Awards