by Lindsey Bell
Giles Scott, Finn. Princess Sofia Trophy, Palma, Mallorca
Britain’s Olympic Classes talents will be vying for domestic honours when the second and final event of the 2009 RYA Olympic Classes Spring Series gets underway at Hayling Island Sailing Club this weekend.
Hannah Mills and Katrina Hughes, Junior World Champions in the 470 women’s class, took the series lead at the opening event at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) back in March, with double Olympic silver medallist Nick Rogers and new crew Pom Green taking pole position in the 470 men’s event heading into this weekend’s series finale.
Palma World Cup winner Giles Scott leads the Finn class Spring Series leaderboard ahead of Skandia Team GBR teammates Mark Andrews and Andrew Mills, while the 49er table is topped after the first event by Paul Brotherton – who coached Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson trio to Yngling Olympic gold – and crew Stuart Bithell.
Athens bronze medallist Nick Dempsey and 2008 Youth European silver medallist Ali Masters head the RS:X 9.5 and 8.5 events.
Compulsory for all Skandia Team GBR Development and Transition squad members the RYA Olympic Classes Spring Series not only provides experienced Olympic Classes sailors the opportunity for high-quality early season domestic racing, while also giving younger sailors the chance to step into Olympic class boats and compete against the nation’s best.
'The forecast is looking good for this weekend, so the stage is set for a gripping finale to this year’s Spring Series,' said RYA Olympic Development Squad Manager Barrie Edgington.
(Latest weather forcast for the Hayling area is for rain showers on both days and winds upto 21mph on Saturday and 15 mph on Sunday - editor)
'This event marks the final qualifier for international grants and for most classes it represents the last chance to get up the ladder and snap up help towards the key championships this summer.
'No doubt the younger Olympic Classes talents will be looking to prove themselves on home waters against some of the more seasoned international campaigners, and with the grant and qualification places for 2009 international events up for grabs there’s all to play for.'