by Matt Carter
On the closing day of the 2012 RYA Volvo Youth Nationals, last year’s champions showcased their skills. Charlie Cox and Craig Dibb displayed signs of excellence across the four days of racing as they defended their RYA Volvo Youth National crown at Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club.
Rupert White and Tom Britz,Spitfire GBR 232 - RYA Volvo Youth Nationals 2012
The regatta has provided world class sailing across all six RYA Youth classes, where Championship honours were decided in the final races of the day. Charlie Cox and Craig Dibb started the week off poor, however their experience from winning the event last year and representing RYA Volvo Team GBR at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships last year clearly paid dividends.
Fleet launching - RYA Volvo Youth Nationals 2012
Cox said: 'We are over the moon to have won as it’s been a week of extremely tight racing. To be able to defend our crown for a second year running at the biggest regatta in the UK is a great achievement – the pressure has now been lifted and we are just so relieved to be standing here knowing we’ve won. We were certainly a lot more confident coming into this year’s regatta which I think has been key to our success this week.'
'We came into the regatta knowing that it was going to be tough, and at one stage thought we had lost it as we started the week off poorly. However, we just put the first day behind us and concentrated on our racing. The key has been consistency – it always is! Posting five bullets, two on consecutive days and then one on the last race of the regatta was the perfect way to top off what has been a fun yet stressful week,' explained Dibb.
Craig Dobbs and Charlie Cox,420 GBR 54182 - RYA Volvo Youth Nationals 2012
'We’ve got a few things to work on between now and July, one thing being to do better when sailing under pressure. We are now just looking forward to the ISAF Youth Worlds where our main aim will be to win a medal. It is one of the biggest event’s you can ever compete in as a Youth sailor so to represent RYA Volvo Team GBR two years running is incredible,' concluded Dibb.
Toby Morsley/Matt Wallis started the regatta off in great form posting a bullet on the opening day in the 420 class, however finished four points off top spot in second while Ed Riley/Tim Riley finished the regatta in third.
The 420 female class was also a tight affair with Annabel Vose/Kirstie Irwin claiming the event victory out in Cardigan Bay. The pair, who have only been sailing together for under six months, faced stiff competition from 2011 event Champions Jess Lavery/Georgie Mothersele who finished eight points behind in fifth overall. Isabel Fitzgerald/Kat Colvin ended the regatta in third.
Vose, current 420 World Champion and now 2012 RYA Volvo Youth National Champion, commented: 'I’m really happy to have won as it’s been my goal for a long time. Finishing the regatta last year behind Jess and Georgie was disappointing so to win this time around and finally qualify for the ISAF Youth Worlds is a great feeling.'
Ben Batton/Tim Gratton are the new Champions in the 29er fleet after producing a consistent run of results and racking up an impressive eight point lead over Jack Hawkins/Christopher Thomas in second. The pair have only recently formed a new partnership after Tim Gratton made the switch from the double handed 420 three months ago. The pair from Hampshire proved themselves effective in all conditions which was one of the main reasons for their championship triumph.
Ben Batton and Tim Gratton,29er,GBR 2028 - RYA Volvo Youth Nationals 2012
Batton expressed: 'It’s been a really good event and a great week with a real mix of sailing conditions; it’s been pretty tricky, especially Tuesday which was very shifty and windy. It feels so great to have won and everyone’s done really well. We have been training together throughout the winter period so it’s great to finally all come together to compete.'
Ian Payne/Chris Berry finished in third while Vikki Payne/Stephanie Orton were awarded the female 2011 Championship title as the pair from Chichester SC finished ninth overall, bettering their result of 14th at Hayling Island in 2011.
Vikki Payne and Steph Orton,29er,GBR 1960 - RYA Volvo Youth Nationals 2012
The highly anticipated RS:X class was the one to watch this week as Kieran Martin, Stuart Hards and Joe Bennett were neck and neck leading into today’s two final races. Stuart Hards entered the final day with a two point cushion over Martin and Bennett who were level on 12 points each.
Upon launching, Hard suffered kit failure to his batten, adding to the nerves of the final day of racing. It was the 2011 Techno 293 Windsurfing World Champion and U17 European Champion, Kieran Martin, who showed his steel delivering arguably the performance of the day with two race wins to secure him event victory.
Kieran Martin,RSX,GBR 926
Discussing his triumph whilst packing away his RS:X Windsurfer, Martin said: 'It just feels amazing! It hasn’t really sunk in yet, finishing first in the final race was the highlight of the week as that’s when I knew I had won! It was extremely tight going into today with three of us in with a chance of winning – I knew what I had to do which was to win both my races which is what I did!'
Meanwhile in the girls RS:X fleet, victory went to 15-year-old Saskia Sills who has only been training and racing on the RS:X board for six months. The Launceston windsurfer was consistent across the nine races which lead to her finishing fourth overall in what was a highly competitive RS:X fleet. Noelle Finch mirrored last year’s performance finishing second, eight points behind Sills, while Saskia’s twin sister, Imogen, followed in third.
Having led the Spitfire catamaran fleet all week, Andy Sinclair/Joshua Potts were dominant throughout and have been crowned 2011 U21 Champions. Finishing the week eight points ahead of second placed Rupert White/Tom Britz, the duo posted an incredible six bullets to finish with a minimal score line of eight.
This is Sinclair’s third Championship, finishing third and second respectively over the last two years. Rupert White who won a bronze medal at the ISAF Youth Worlds last year, finished in second along with his new crew Tom Britz. Alicia Clifford/Harry Willett finished in third having occupied second all week.
Andy Sinclair and Joshua Potts,Spitfire GBR 109 - RYA Volvo Youth Nationals 2012
The Laser Radial fleet was dominated by the events internationals competitors from start to finish as New Zealand’s Andrew Mckenzie claimed event honours with six bullets to his name. Norway’s Hermann Tomasgaard followed up in second whilst the battle for third and the RYA Volvo Team GBR spot came down to the wire between Michael Beckett and Christopher Eames on the last race of the day. Eames occupied third spot all week, however the pressure seemed to show as he greeted Beckett with third spot after posting a disappointing 37 in the final race.
Meanwhile Ellie Meopham, who finished third last year, took the honours in the Radial female fleet in some style edging out last year’s champion Rheanna Pavey who finished in second with Georgina Povall laying in third.
Ellie Meophan,Laser Radial,GBR 202448 - RYA Volvo Youth Nationals 2012
Hector Simpson from Yorkshire Dales SC secured event honours In the Laser standard fleet while George Spedding finished second and Richard Cumpsty in third.
John Derbyshire RYA Racing Manager/Performance Director, commented: 'It’s been a fantastic event this year, Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club have been tremendous hosts and the work and effort which has been put in by all the volunteers to make the racing happen has been remarkable.
'You’ve got to take your hat off to the sailors, it’s been extremely competitive with several classes being tied for overall first place which has made it very challenging for the selectors of RYA Volvo Team GBR. Overall a huge credit to the sailors and organisers for making this the biggest RYA Volvo Youth National Championships ever and a big thank you must go to Volvo Car UK for sponsoring the event and adding to the success.'
Saskia Sills,RSX,GBR 956 - RYA Volvo Youth Nationals 2012
RYA Volvo Youth National Championships 2012 Overall Winners:
1st Laser Standard – Hector Simpson (Yorkshire Dales SC)
1st Laser Radial Overall – Andrew McKenzie (New Zealand)
1st Laser Radial British boy – Michael Beckett (Solva SC)
1st Laser Radial girl and 1st English Radial girl – Ellie Meopham (Fishguard Bay SC)
1st 420 boys – Craig Dibb (Warsash SC)/Charlie Cox (Royal Lymington Yacht Club)
1st 420 girls – Annabel Vose/Kirstie Irwin (Royal Southern Yacht Club)
1st 29er overall and 1st 29er boys – Ben Batton (Lymington Town Sailing Club)/Tim Gratton (Hayling Island Sailing Club)
1st 29er girls – Vikki Payne/Stephanie Orton (Chichester SC)
1st RS:X Windsurfing Boy – Kieran Martin (Carsington)
1st RS:X Windsurfing Girl Trophy – Saskia Sills (Roadford Lake)
1st Spitfire overall – Andy Sinclair/Joshua Potts (Royal Southern Yacht Club)
RYA Racing Events Website