by Matt Carter
Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic Classes sailors can look forward to a month of tough domestic competition with the start of the annual 2013 RYA Autumn Olympic Classes National Ranking Series.
Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond competing in the Nacra 17 class at WPNSA.
This weekend (19-20 October) will see the first of the three regattas comprising the National Ranking Series, which takes place at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy and sees the top British Sailing Team stars pit their wits against regular Olympic Classes sailors from around the country.
And with qualification for key international regattas and RYA grants at stake, the Series will offer a highly-competitive and exciting racing environment for aspiring 2016 and 2020 hopefuls.
London 2012 silver medallist and reigning RS:X World Champion Nick Dempsey and 2012 Paralympic 2.4mR gold medallist Helena Lucas, will feature at this first event of the Series, while 2013 49er European Champions Dylan Fletcher-Alain Sign and Nacra 17 World silver medallists Ben Saxton-Hannah Diamond will also be amongst the other top British Sailing Team crews gunning for Series glory.
The British Sailing Team’s Podium Potential sailors Mike Wood-Hugh Brayshaw and Joanna Freeman-Katie Tomsett, the 2013 470 Junior European silver medallists in both the men’s and women’s division, will be eager to defend their 2012 Spring Series crown in the 470 events.
Heavy weight Finn sailor Mark Andrews will also be vying for event honours once again and will face stiff rivalry from fellow Brits Giles Scott and Andrew Mills while 2013 Finn Junior European Champion, Peter McCoy, will be in the hunt to upgrade his second place finish from the 2012 Series.
The Series will welcome racing across seven Olympic and three Paralympic classes – the 470 men, 470 women, 470 mixed, Finn, 49er, 49er FX, Nacra 17, RSX 8.5, RSX 9.5, 2.4mR, SKUD and the Sonar.
Racing in the SKUD and Sonar has been cancelled for this weekend due to insufficient entries for either class.
Barrie Edgington, British Sailing Team Podium Potential Squad Manager, commented: 'The RYA Autumn Olympic Classes National Ranking Series is a fantastic event which allows Olympic and Paralympic classes sailors to come together for some tough domestic competition.
'It is a great opportunity for regular class sailors and up-and-coming young Olympic Classes sailors to pit themselves against Britain’s best on the world class waters of Weymouth and Portland. The forecast for this weekend looks mild and breezy providing the sailors with some testing conditions for the opening weekend of the Series.'
The second event of the Series will take place on the final weekend of October (26-27 October) while the third and final event of the Series will be held on the 16-17 November. The event is compulsory for all British Sailing Team Podium and Podium Potential Squad members.
Please check the Olympic Classes Handbook here for information about individual class programmes and which events count towards the Series for each Olympic and Paralympic Class.
To avoid the increased late entry fee, entries must be made by 21 October for the second weekend and 11 November for the third and final weekend at WPNSA.
Enter online for the remaining two events of the 2013 RYA Autumn National Ranking Series here.
For the latest news from the British Sailing Team visit British sailing Team, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @BritishSailing.