by Matt Carter
Sailor Paul Campbell-James has booked his place in the grand final of the 2013 RYA National Match Racing Championships as his crew claimed event honours at the final qualifier event of this year’s Series.
2013 RYA National Match Racing Qualifier 1 at Queen Mary Sailing Club
The Southampton based sailor skippered his team of Chris Draper, Sam Richmond, Dan Gohl and Archie Goodwin to RYA National Match Racing Qualifier 1 triumph at Queen Mary Sailing Club (QMSC) this past weekend (9-10 November).
The West London venue, was hit by light winds on Saturday, which meant no racing was possible for the eight teams competing for Championship honours, leading to an intense round-robin schedule on Sunday when conditions had improved to an average 5-10 knots.
Campbell James, who is a three-time RYA National Match Racing Champion, was in clinical form at Queen Mary on Sunday enjoying seven round-robin race wins with his four other team mates.
Ali Hall and his crew of James Boadle, Ashley Rudd and Chris Webber finished their round-robin off in second after clinching six race wins, edging last month’s RYA Youth National Match Racing Champion Mark Lees into third with five race wins.
Commenting on his win at Queen Mary, Campbell-James said: 'We were very happy with our win and overall performance from the weekend. We had a fun time and enjoyed the weekend of racing. Even though we didn’t get to race on the Saturday, we spent some invaluable time out on the water whilst we waited for the breeze going over our routines which proved crucial in the round-robin.
'When we finally got some racing in on Sunday it was great. It was classic Queen Mary conditions - slightly shifty but generally perfect match racing conditions which allowed for some great round-robin matches to take place. Credit to the Race Officer who managed to get the full round-robin in the one day which was good.
The 30-year-old continued: 'I think the key to our success over the weekend was definitely the fact that we won all the pre-starts. All the lads did a great job – Chris tactically was very good as we didn’t miss too many shifts and the boys at the front did a fantastic job with all the boat handling. We didn’t make too many errors which is obviously always the key when match racing. It was great to race against Mark Lees who is ranked quite high in the ISAF World Match Racing rankings.
Campbell-James and his crew are now poised to make their assault on the overall 2013 RYA National Match Racing Series title when the Grand Final takes place at QMSC between 22 – 24 November 2013.
'It was nice to get back into small boat match racing again and to gain some more experience before the finals. We have spent a lot of time match racing – but it hasn’t been in these smaller boats, most of the racing we have done in the last two to three years has been with a reaching start and in 45 or 72 foot catamarans so it’s been slightly different – but at the end of the day it’s still the same sport!
'We are now looking forward to the Finals in a few weeks’ time where our main aim will be to win. It is always a great event and we are very much looking forward to coming up against the best match racers from around the country,' concluded Campbell-James.
The 2013 Championships will be contested in the RYA’s fleet of J80s with a maximum of 12 skippers accepted for each of the qualifying events.
2013 RYA National Match Racing Qualifier 1 results:
1: Paul Campbell James, Chris Draper, Sam Richmond, Dan Gohl, Archie Goodwin.
2: Ali Hall, James Boadle, Ashley Rudd, Chris Webber.
3: Mark Lees, Kelvin Matthews, David Bedford, Toby Mumford.
4: James Goss, Will Morgan, Pete Gray, Nick Wilkinson, Hermione Stanley.
5: Daniel Wray, Matt Haslam, Jack Kilburn, Piers Strong, Eleni Morus.
6: Chris Taylor, Ed Roberts, Callum McCullough, Emily Nagel, Evie Clemance.
7: Alexander Macpherson, Rob Thomas, Ollie Mellor, Olivier Moreau.
8: Sam Strover, Jessica Houlgrave, Jeremy Pocock, Duncan Syme.
For more information on the RYA National Match Racing Series please, click here.