by Matt Carter
Over 1,000 of the nation’s Olympic sailing hopefuls took to the waters across the United Kingdom today for the opening day of the 2013 RYA Zone and Home Country Championships. The nine venues across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Zones were given varied weather conditions which allowed for the full schedule of races to take place. With a diverse range of wind speeds across the venues, the young guns taking part across the country had to apply a whole range of their skills honed at club training and competitions throughout the year.
Racing at the 2013 RYA Zone and Home Country Championships
The RYA Zone and Home Country Championships traditionally mark the end of the Junior racing season and the start of a hard winter’s training. They are a key event for any young sailor wishing to be selected for the RYA Zone and Home Country squads, which are the first step on the pathway to Olympic Classes sailing.
Each Zone and Home Country Championship venue is offering ‘novice’ regatta fleets for Toppers, Optimists and the RS Tera. This event enables sailors to set themselves an end-of-year goal after training and racing at their local club or RYA training centre during the summer months. It will give young sailors a good learning experience to help start them along the pathway to success. Fleets vary according to each venue.
Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, commented: 'We have witnessed a great day of competition across the classes at each of the venues, we have had a great welcome at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club and have made the most of the fantastic facilities up here. Across the country the sailors have had a great, if tiring day in really challenging conditions and I am really pleased with what I have seen thus far. Pleasingly we have had lots of interest in the John Merricks Trust programme and I very much look forward to seeing young sailors from our Sport Development programmes benefitting from that initiative.
'I said in my briefing this morning that the winners for me would not necessarily be those taking home the prizes at the end of the weekend, but sailors who had learned most from the experience and I had lots of great chats with sailors, working on their set up for the day and talking about what their priorities are. The Coaches have been working hard briefing and debriefing the sailors and we have had a huge amount of support from an army volunteers. I am very much looking forward to watching the climax of tomorrows racing and also keeping a watchful eye on the progress of the sailors as they move along the pathway.'
The RYA South Zone kicked off the opening day of their RYA Zone Championships at Poole Yacht Club in fantastic fashion today. The 191 young contenders competing in the Topper, Optimist and RS Feva classes, which also included two regatta fleets, took to the water in a moderate 5-10 knots of breeze which gradually built throughout the day. At times sailors were given the opportunity to really blow off some cobwebs and test their mettle in gusts of up to 15 knots resulting in some exhilarating sail racing across the three junior classes.
On the final day of competition tomorrow sailors from the South Zone will have the opportunity to impress London 2012 Olympian Bryony Shaw who will be out on the water giving some top tips and advice to the junior sailors. Once ashore the youngsters will be given the chance to quiz the Beijing Olympic bronze medallist in a Q&A session before she presents the medals to the worthy RYA South Zone champions.
Chris Atherton, RYA High Performance Manager for the South and South West, commented: 'We have had a great opening day to the championships here at Poole Yacht Club today. The stronger breeze which was forecast didn’t quite materialise which allowed us to run the full schedule of races in some testing conditions for the sailors. Poole Yacht Club have been a great host and I’m looking forward to another fantastic battle tomorrow as well as welcoming Bryony Shaw from the British Sailing Team.'
1: Imogen Kemp (Poole YC)
2: Simon Oage (Swanage SC)
3: David Saunders (Hillhead SC)
1:Alex Smallwood (Wraysbury Lake SC)
2: Charlotte Boyle (RLYC)
3: Vita Heathcote (RLYC)
1: Edward Norbury/Charlie Hutchings (Warsash SC)
2: Alairc Bates/Matt Walker-Morecroft (Bowmoor)
3: Max Griggs/CodyGriggs (Royal Torbay YC)
Some 84 sailors from the South West enjoyed some good breeze in what was a great first day of racing at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. The Junior sailors enjoyed an Easterly 10 -15 knots while battling it out against their peers within their RYA South West Zone. All three of the scheduled races were completed across all classes concluding what was a great first day of racing at the 2012 Olympic sailing venue.
James Tilley, RYA Event Director, said: 'Today’s forecast was for lots of rain and 18 – 25 knots so we were pleasantly surprised when the weather allowed for some fantastic weather conditions throughout the day. All races started on time with clear starts, in fact no sailors recorded an OCS in any of the races today in any fleet. Toppers and Optimists both had three races back to back.
'The British Sailing Team’s 49erFX sailor Katrina Best was our ‘super star sailor’ for the day. Katrina gave all the sailors some top tips at the main briefing which included advice for the sailors to take lots of food and drink out on the water with them. She had a chat and photos with lots of young sailors in all the fleets out on the water and was impressed with both the quality of racing and the nutrition/ hydration of the sailors between races.'
Tilley concluded: 'The regatta fleet of Toppers and Optimists also had three great races back to back with a Haribo debrief at the end of the day. Katrina Best and the coaches (Anna Piggot and Clare Hall) were really impressed with the sailing, huge smiling faces and lots of swimming.'
1: Ben Gray (Bowmoor)
2: Jamie Harris (Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club)
3: Rosie Williamson (Bowmoor)
1: Bella Fellows (Yealm Yacht Club)
2: Jonathan Wilson (Wimbleball SC)
3: Rory Cohen (FOSSC)
1: Josephine Spencer (Siblyback Water Warriors)
2: James Bulson (Croft Farm Flyers)
3: Isabel Lawrence (Farmoor)
1: Izzy Adcock (Academy All Stars)
2: Penny Lowenna (Roseland Wave Riders)
3: Alex Blackmoore (QSW)
1: Adam Phipps (Polkerris Pirates)
2: Ben Tweedle (Emsworth SC / Calshot Flyers)
3: Emma Ashman (Oxford SC)
1: James Hatcher (Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club)
2: Jack Bassett (Axbridge)
3: Alice Read (Oxford SC)
The 135 sailors battling it out in the South East Zone were treated today at Queen Mary reservoir with spells of sunshine and 10-12 knots of steady breeze allowing for the full schedule of races to take place.
Three back-to-back races took place on schedule for the Optimists, Toppers and RS Feva’s with the windsurfers also enjoying a full on day at the Queen Mary Sailing Club. However, with a number of sailors sailing the wrong course in the opening Optimist race of the regatta, race one has been abandoned and will not be re-sailed.
Paul Wren, RYA High Performance Manager for the East and South East, said: 'Sailors have enjoyed some great conditions on the opening day of the regatta and it was pleasing to see some great racing across all classes. The regatta fleet was well represented with sailors competing for the first time. Advice and support was on hand which gave them the opportunity to get a real feel of a Championship atmosphere. Tomorrow we are set for another great day here at Queen Mary.'
1st: Nancy Scott (Island Barn SC)
2nd: Lewis Humphries (Pevensey Bay)
3rd: William Cook (Hayling Island SC)
1st: Daniel Lewis/Elliott Marshall (Draycote Water SC)
2nd: Iain Bird/Jake Hardman (Hayling Island SC / Burghfield)
3rd: Daniel Discombe/Dom Lewis (Tonbridge School)
1st: Zac Riley (Weir Wood SC)
2nd: Alice Handley (Papercourt / HISC)
3rd: George Blatchford (Weir Wood SC)
Bic Techno 4.5
1st: Tom Skoulding (Queen Mary SC)
2nd: Josh Lane (Queen Mary SC)
3rd: Elise Chandler (Alton Water)
Bic Techno 5.8
1st: Ben Temme (Bewl Valley SC)
2nd: Tom Cunningham (Bewl Valley SC)
3rd: Eleanor Gibson (Hythe and Saltwood SC)
Bic Techno 6.8
1st: Hugo Thomas (Queen Mary SC)
2nd: Toby Cave (Grafham Water SC)
Bic Techno 7.8
1st: Alexei Murphy (Bray Lake Manic Monkeys)
2nd: Ben Barnwell (Queen Mary SC)
3rd: James Barnwell (Queen Mary SC)
It was a fantastic opening day at Grafham Water Sailing Club for the RYA East Zone Championships with the largest entry number of all Zones with 180 competitors. The opening day brought with it bright and sunny conditions with a steady 10 knots from the East, building to 14 in the afternoon with gusts in the high teens.
All main fleets completed three races out of the six race series. The final three races of the series will be highly competitive with a number of sailors gunning for event victory and those all-important RYA Zone Squad places. The young competitors can look forward to another great day at Grafham Water with similar conditions expected tomorrow.
Tim Hall, RYA Event Director, said: 'We couldn’t have asked for better conditions here at Grafham and are very grateful given that some of the other venues have experienced some more challenging weather. Race teams have been very efficient and delivered three races for each fleet leaving the final three to complete tomorrow. It’s been great to see such a good turnout at Grafham, with the entry bolstered by the Laser 4.7s, Mirrors and Cadets and the standard of racing is excellent.'
1 Gemma Keers and Imogen Bellfield – Itchenor SC
2 Emma Clayton and Fay Caswell – Yorkshire Dales SC
3 Tom Weston and Paddy Jefferies – Itchenor SC
1 Lulu Knott and Daisy Nunn – Waldringfield SC
2 Joe Barr and Adam Lloyd – Corinthian Otters
3 Ben Shorrock and Ellie Watling -Frensham Pond
1 George Ford – Hayling Island
2 William Bedford – Hayling Island
3 Ross Banham – Bewl Valley SC
1 Arthur Brown – Royal Burnham YC
2 Conor Wey – DSC / WMYC
3 Colette Bacon – Corinthian Otters / Burnham on Crouch
1 Ollie Dixon – Royal Harwich YC
2 Alexander Clarke
3 Ashley Deaton – Royal Harwich YC
The RYA West Zone Championships got off to the flyer today at Draycote Water Sailing Club as sailors completed a full schedule races with one in the morning and two back to back in the afternoon across the Optimist, Topper and windsurfing fleets. The young competitors aged between 8-15 battled hard in an Easterly breeze, starting at 10 knots and building to 12-14 knots for all of the three races.
One of the highlights today at the RYA West Zone venue was having the Midlands Team15 attend for their fourth interclub this year. The regatta welcomed 20 visiting windsurfers who added to the excitement and buzz of the Zone Championship fleets today. Team15 sailors thoroughly enjoyed their day racing within bigger fleets than they are usually accustomed to.
In the Topper fleet, Lucy Mearns and Alex Hughes have been fighting it out at the front of the fleet, both counting a first and second each so far while Optimist sailor Chloe Felton is edging slightly ahead at the end of the first day of racing, with a slender one point lead over Dan Wellbourn-Hesp.
Sailors can look forward to another great day tomorrow at Draycote Water. The forecast is for maybe a little bit more breeze, again from the East.
1. Alex Hughes
2. Lucy Mearns
3. Sam Platt
1. Chloe Felton
2. Dan Wellbourn-Hesp
3. Callum Davidson-Guild
1. Daisy McCallister
2. Jack Gibbs
3. Matt Drayton
1. Andrew King
2. Callum Morris
3. Cameron Green
1. Ollie Mulhall
2. Oliver Smith
3. Aaron Hobb
1. Josh Carey
2. Paul Halliwell
3. Toby Williams
1. Matt Carey
2. David Lett
3. Gustavo Takiguchi
The RYA North Zone Championships – Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club.
Over 68 boats from across the North of England launched on time this morning as the young sailors competing in Optimists, Toppers and the RS Tera enjoyed 10-13 knots of breeze in the opening race of their Championships. The regatta fleet did two quick races in 10 – 13 knots of breeze and then headed in for lunch while the main fleet did two longer races prior to lunch – with a light fog clearing to give way to bright sunshine by race two. The breeze strengthened gently into the afternoon to climax with 14 – 17 knots of breeze. All main fleets did a total of four races.
Roy McCubbin, RYA Double Handed Pathway Manager, said: 'It was a fantastic opening day here at the North Zone venue. All the competitors coped extremely well and we were most impressed with the close racing across all the fleets. The Topper fleet is shaping up to be a great contest tomorrow and we are expecting some very tight racing at the top of the fleet.'
1: Ruben Stokroos (Derwent Reservoir SC)
2: Ben Russell (Kielder Water SC)
3: Luke Stewart (Kielder Water SC)
1: Simon Gadsby (Nottingham SC)
2: George Coles (Casington SC)
3: Georgia King (Hollowell SC)
Welsh Youth and Junior Championships – New Quay Sailing Club, Ceredigion
162 sailors descended on New Quay YC in Ceredigion in South West Wales for the 2013 RYA Welsh Zone Championships. Sailors were met by a clear morning with a gentle Easterly breeze in a beautiful setting and welcoming local town. In the 39 boat Optimist fleet, Will Hall made the most out of the first few shifts to pull out a comfortable lead from Milan Monaghan and Huw Nunn. In the Toppers Tom Renny did well to pull ahead from Zac Orehawa and Callum Elwin and the 29ers dominated the General Handicap fleet with a first from Danielle Rowe and Rachel Tilley followed by Huw Edwards and Josh Dawson.
The breeze strengthened for the second race and Iago Davies earned himself a bullet ahead of fellow Welsh Squad sailors: Rhys Lewis and Will Hall. Callum Elwin did one better than his last race in the Toppers and crossed the finish line ahead of Alex Whitfield and Tom Renny. The General Handicap Fleet was again dominated by the 29ers but it was Tom and Alex Joesbury who managed to nip in front of Danielle and Rachel.
Finally, the breeze started to gust up to 15 knots for the third race and the safety fleet was hit by an increasing number of capsizes in the gusty and damper conditions. Rhys Lewis did one better than the last race with a bullet and was followed by Gethin Owen and Iago Davies in the Optimists. The heavier wind specialists started to flourish in the Topper fleet and it was Cori MacFarlane who was enjoying the windier conditions most in the Toppers and pulled ahead to win ahead of Chloe Butterworth and Charlotte Watson. Again, the 29ers dominated the General Handicap and it was Tilly James and Paddy Keech who managed to sail their newly repaired boat to victory ahead of Josh and Jake Davies and Danielle Rowe and Rachel Tilley.
The Regatta fleet had a great day and managed the conditions superbly under the careful eye of Head coach, Sam Healy and colleagues. Ceri Roberts from Clywedog Sailing Club dominated the Optimists ahead of Tasmin Green from Port Dinorwic Sailing Club and Thomas Watson from Llyn Brenig Sailing Club. Evelyn Jones leads the Toppers just ahead of Finn Roberts who will be looking to recover from a protest tomorrow and local boy Oliver Edwards from NQYC. Finally, Isobel Ace and Zac Healy lead the General Handicap ahead of the two RS Tera's of Freddie Spillane and Iwan Roberts.
Alistair Dixon, RYA High Performance Manager for Wales, said: 'It's excellent to see so many sailors, both experienced and inexperienced enjoying good quality racing and coaching in such a superb setting in West Wales. The atmosphere here is fantastic and all coaches were thoroughly impressed with the standard of sailing and the competition in both the main and regatta fleets.'
RYA Scotland Youth and Junior Championships – East Lothian Yacht Club
The Scottish sailing venue of East Lothian Yacht Club was subject to a short delay while the Scottish sailors waited for the breeze to materialise. Competitors took to the waters mid-afternoon basking in sunshine in a light 5-7 knots in race one of the regatta. The breeze then slowly built reaching 7-11 knots giving Scotland’s young guns more than enough to test their mettle in the remaining two races of the day.
Nick Scott, RYA High Performance Manager for Scotland, said: 'It has been a great days racing here on day one at East Lothian Yacht Club, we had to wait a while for the breeze but nobody minds when the sun is shining! The racing we did get this afternoon has been extremely close and great to watch. I cannot wait for another great day tomorrow which no doubt will provide just as much as excitement as today, maybe even more!'
1: Anna Sturrock
2: Calum Rosie
3: Angus Lawson
1: Rory Harper
2: Hamish Taylor
3: Calum Cook
1: Dean Hargreaves
1: Jude Nichol
1: Isaac Lines
1: Erin Watson
1:Gillies Munro/Daniel Harris
2:James Grummet/Daniel Budden
3:Aaron Murray/Lewis Marr
1: Alasdair Ireland/David Abraham
1: Iain McLaughlan
2: Dugal Wilson
3: Ross Maclean
1: Emma and Robbie Fowler
RYANI Youth Championships and NI Schools Cup In association with McCready Sailboats – Ballyholme Yacht Club, Co Down
A great day of racing with sun shine and nice steady 10-12 knots of breeze for all competitors at Ballyholme Yacht Club who all completed the full schedule for four races. 135 entries is a record for the province and a large number of sailors gaining experience form the coached Regatta Fleet.
The racing got underway today in ideal conditions for all fleets. The number of entries have been a particular highlight with sailors from all across the province travelling to compete for class prizes and overall event honours.
1st Lucy Burrows and Katie Kane
1st Anna McNulty
2nd Tom Purdon
3rd Emily Hill
1st Peter Gilmore
2nd Andrew Mitchell
3rd Conor Quinn
1st Louise Mackay
2nd James O’Neill
3rd – Ellie Mackay
1st Ryan Glynn
2nd Sarah Eames
3rd Andrew Penney
1st Paul McParland
2nd Adam Walmsley
3rd James Campbell
1st Timmy Robinson and Tom McAlindan
2nd Nicola Eames and Claire Kennedy
1st Ellen Barbour
2nd Caitlin Egan
1st Jenna McCarlie
2nd Callum Harley
3rd Erin McIlwaine
Topper 4.2 Regatta
1st Sam Rutherford
2nd Mary Smartt
3rd Grace Clarke