by Matt Carter
Battle was fierce this weekend as the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy staged the third and final instalment of the 2013 RYA Autumn Olympic Classes National Ranking Series (16-17 November).
The British Sailing Team’s Tom Squires competing in the RS:X class
Two weekends of racing at WPNSA in October set the stage for a fitting Series finale at the 2012 Olympic Sailing venue this weekend, where domestic honours were at stake across the Olympic and Paralympic classes.
In the 470 class it was a close battle between the British Sailing Team’s Sophie Weguelin-Eilidh McIntyre and Hannah Mills-Saskia Clark with the two boats tied on points after five races but with the win going to Weguelin-McIntyre on countback. Winning their second successive Series event, Weguelin and McIntyre also clinched the Series crown ahead of Anna Burnet-Flora Stewart.
2011 Finn World and European Champion Giles Scott made no mistake in wrapping up the Series heavyweight dinghy victory, winning his second National Ranking Series event courtesy of five top three finishes. Harry Briddon finished only one point behind in second while Andrew Mills clinched the third step on the podium and the runner-up spot in the overall Series standings.
With RS:X World Champion Nick Dempsey having to pull out of racing this weekend due to illness, the door was left open for his training partner Tom Squires who wrapped up both the weekend and overall Series victory in impressive style with three races wins from the four races completed. Sam Sills finished second and as a result second in the overall standings while fourth was enough for Joe Bennett to clinch third in the Series ahead of Ali Masters.
Bryony Shaw dominated proceedings in the RS:X 8.5 class with a clean sweep of race wins ahead of Izzy Hamilton to comfortably claim Series honours. British Sailing Team Podium Potential sailor Imogen Sills efforts of finishing third was also enough to secure her third place on the Series podium.
In the Nacra 17 class Tom Phipps-Zennor Pascoe seized four race wins and the weekend victory ahead of Maddy Anderson-Harry Willett while third placed Alicia Clifford-Tom Bruton clinched the Series crown after a fifth place in the opening event of the Series.
Meanwhile over at Grafham Water Sailing Club, 49er sailors Dylan Fletcher-Alain Sign continued to shine with an impressive four race wins to be crowned 2013 National Ranking Series Champions. John Pink-Stuart Bithell finished their weekend in second while a third place for Dave Evans-Ed Powys was enough to see them finish second in the overall Series standings.
In the 49erFX event Charlotte Dobson-Sophie Ainsworth topped the billing with four bullets from the seven race series however saw the National Ranking Series title go to Frances Peters-Nicola Groves for a second consecutive year after finishing second, one point ahead of Kate Macgregor-Katrina Best in third.
In the Paralympic classes Megan Pascoe wrapped up event honours and as a result the 2013 2.4mR Series crown ahead of Helena Lucas with four bullets and two seconds while John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Tom Abriy clinched weekend victory in the Sonar class.
Barrie Edgington, British Sailing Team Podium Potential Squad Manager, commented: 'The three Olympic Classes National Ranking Series events encompassed the full spectrum of racing conditions from survival to a light wind finale this weekend. The challenge of the conditions and the shorter race format tested the race teams at times but it was worth it according to the competitors who really enjoyed the quick fire racing format.
'With the 49er and 49erFX competitors rounding of their Ranking Series at the Ovington Inlands this weekend, it was great to see the Sonar fleet making an appearance to redress the fleet balance in Portland Harbour this weekend.
Edgington concluded: 'With the aim of mixing new talent with established GBR medal winners, this year’s Series didn’t disappoint as new faces and teams made their mark this Autumn. Thanks go to the hosts WPNSA, the volunteer race teams and the staff who made it possible.'
Overall 2013 RYA Olympic Classes National Ranking Series Results:
1. Giles Scott
2. Andrew Mills
3. Mark Andrews
1. Sophie Weguelin-Eilidh McIntyre
2. Anna Burnet-Flora Stewart
3. Amy Seabright-Anna Carpenter
1. Dylan Fletcher-Alain Sign
2. Dave Evans-Ed Powys
3. John Pink-Stuart Bithell
1. Frances Peters-Nicola Groves
2. Charlotte Dobson-Sophie Ainsworth
3. Kate Macgregor-Katrina Best
1. Alica Clifford-Tom Bruton
2. Maddy Anderson-Andy Sinclair
3. Ben Saxton-Hannah Diamond
1. Tom Squires
2. Sam Sills
3. Jo Bennett
1. Bryony Shaw
2. Daniel Wilson
3. Imogen Sills
1. Megan Pascoe
2. Helena Lucas
3. Will Street
For full results, click here
British Sailing Team