Tom Klemens & James Oliver
Youth Champions to take on the best in the World
Finishing first male youth boat in the 420 class at the recent OAMPS Insurance Brokers Australian Youth Championship in Queensland, Sandringham Yacht Club & Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club members 16 year old skipper Tom Klemens and his crew, 17 year old James Oliver have secured themselves a place on the Australian Youth Sailing Team to travel to Ireland to compete in the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship, an amazing achievement given they are probably the only elite 420 sailors in Victoria and spend a great deal of time training on the water on their own.
Their goal going into the Youth Championships was to gain selection for the team and Klemens commented, “We were better prepared than last year and more experienced.”
Prior to the Youth Championships the pair competed in the 420 National Championships which is open aged, there they were first youth boat and were awarded the Huck Scott Memorial Trophy, previous winners of which reads like a who’s who of the Australian Sailing Team and include Mathew Belcher, Nathan Outteridge, Ian Jensen all of who are competing in the 2012 London Olympics.
With the name of one of his sailing heroes on a trophy he now holds, Klemens is aiming to follow in their footsteps with a place on the Australian Sailing Team as a long term goal and further ahead “the dream is the Olympics but there is a lot of hard work first”.
Why did they chose a 420 over a 29er, the other youth two man boat, Klemens comments “ I like the technical aspect of a 420, and if you can sail a 420 well, you sail anything after that”.
Looking towards Dublin in July and their goal of a medal at the Youth Sailing World Championships they will be sitting down to put in place a training schedule that will see them on the water four times a week and travelling interstate to get much needed race practice against other 420 sailors. Klemens sees the main competition at the Worlds coming from the Greek pair as well as some of the other Europeans “they have good squads and training programs”.
Before travelling to Dublin the pair will compete in Japan as they have been invited to compete at the Japanese Youth Championship in March, providing some good regatta experience.
With a couple of disappointing races at the start of the Australian Youth Championships it was not until the last race when the pair finished first were they assured of their spot to go to Dublin.
Klemens’ commitment to sailing is outstanding and with his idols sailors who are World Champions and Olympic Gold medallists he has no allusions as to the hard work required to reach the ultimate goal and as he says “to be serious in any sport you need to do it full time”