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RYA Volvo Youth National Championships - Challenging conditions abound

by Matt Carter on 4 Apr 2012
Ben Batten and Tim Gratton,29er GBR 2028 © Paul Wyeth / RYA http://www.rya.org.uk
Charlie Cox and Craig Dibb, last year’s 420 RYA Volvo Youth National Champions, turned on the style in some very challenging and chaotic conditions as the duo posted what was undoubtedly the performance of day two out in Cardigan Bay (Tuesday 3 April).

It was a case of man against the elements as the wind gradually built throughout the day, on occasion gusting up to 26-29 knots in what was a challenging day for some of the less experienced sailors. Last year’s champions, however, revelled in the strong gusts and freezing conditions as the pair climbed their way back up the 420 leader board with two emphatic bullets.

'Today was amazing for us, we absolutely love this kind of weather as it just gives us the chance to blast away!' stated Cox.



After a below par set of results for the pair on the opening day, posting two bullets in the only two races out on the 420 course today has put the pair right back in the mix of retaining their title: 'Yes, undeniably today was what we needed, we had great fun out on the water in what were some of the windiest conditions we have sailed in for a while – it definitely separated the men from the boys!

Dibb concluded: 'We are absolutely looking forward tomorrow for what is set to be another mental day. We will just keep grinding away to try and take over the number one spot in time for Friday.'


The pair from Hampshire still have their work cut out to retain their crown as yesterday’s overnight leaders, Toby Morsley/ Matt Wallis continued their consistent form posting 2-3 to keep them two points ahead in top spot. Annabel Vose/Kirstie Irwin continue to lead the charge in the female fleet with a 3-6 in today’s tricky conditions whilst Jess Lavery/Georgie Mothersele continue to battle to retain their title with a 8-10 in what is guaranteed to be an enthralling battle for 2012 420 supremacy in the both the male and female fleets.

Continuing their dominance in the Spitfire class is Andy Sinclair and Joshua Potts. The duo who are too old to qualify for the ISAF Youth Worlds team this time around, posted a 5-1, despite having suffering damage to their boat after a heavy capsize in the blustery conditions.

Sinclair, 19, from Royal Southern Sailing Club, commented: 'Today was actually quite funny, it was very windy with the gusts varying throughout the day. The first race was good until we capsized – we were leading most of the way around until we pitch poled downwind and managed to bend our mast and the halyard fitting at the top which was a bummer. We just overlaid the line at the finish, pushing it a little too hard with a big gust and a big wave at the same time which pretty much meant game over! We managed to finish that race in fifth and then carried onto win the second race - pleasing after the capsize.'

'The overall aim for the regatta is to win it, I finished third two years ago and second last year so I’m hoping this is the year that I can actually go on to win. I’m too old for the ISAF’s but my long term aims are definitely the 2016 Olympics in the Cat which is all very exciting at the minute, there is also the Americas Cup and many other options in the multi-hull world.'

'The rest of the Spitfire fleet is very competitive, I don’t think Rupert White is as quick as he was last year with Nikki Boniface, she was a really good crew and they were ridiculously quick. Although, Rupert’s new partner is new to the Spitfire so I guess he is still adapting to the transition from the Laser Radial. Let’s hope they can medal at this year’s Youth Worlds if selected,' explained Sinclair.

In the Laser Radial fleet, New Zealand’s Andrew Mckenzie added another two race wins and a second to his score line to sit a comfortable seven points in front of second place Brit Christopher Eames who also had a positive day with 4-2-3. Leading the charge in the female fleet is Fishguard Bay SC’s Ellie Meopham.

'Overall I’m pretty satisfied with my overall result today as it keeps me at the top end of the leader board. The first two races were comfortable, however with the wind building throughout the day the third race was tough –it was really strong at times and just so cold!'

Meopham continued: 'As they said in the RYA briefing this morning, the main things were the pressure and playing the shifts up the beat so I took that on board and it paid off. My main aim is just to sail a really consistent Series as this is what can sometimes let me down – of course the ISAF Worlds are on mind but it’s far too early on in the regatta to think about it.'

'In terms of tomorrow its meant to be howling a gale yet again so my main aim will be to just come back alive,' laughed the Welsh Laser Radial sailor.

Meanwhile in the highly competitive 29er fleet, Ben Batton/Tim Gratton continue to reign with another impressive display claiming two bullets and a second, putting them well in contention for the Championship crown and the all-important RYA Volvo Team GBR spot. Trent Rippey/Alex Munro from New Zealand sit second whilst Jack Hawkins/Christopher Thomas currently lie third. Ruth Allan/Tessa Allan are the top ranked female pair in 14th overall with Vikki Payne/ Stephanie Orton hot on their heels in 15th overall.

Kieran Martin and Joe Bennett lived up to their billing as favourites for the RS:X title, sitting level on eight points after the two RS:X races today while 5-6 for Noelle Finch makes her first female, in fourth place overall.




In the Laser Standard class, Hector Simpson continued his solid start from yesterday posting 4-3-2 to remain on top of the leader board while Richard Cumpsty remains second and George Spedding in third.

Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, commented: 'Today was a really tough day, not actually that windy initially but it pretty quickly built and by early afternoon when the cloud cleared it flicked right and pretty rapidly the sea state was challenging and we were seeing mid-late 20 knots and a lot of retirements, the wind coupled with the pretty extreme temperatures arising from the Northerly breezes made it a real test for the sailors across all the fleets and I think most were glad when their programme finished or we called time on proceedings!

'Crucially, in a number of fleets we are pretty much on schedule and in the 29er’s and the Radials we got enough racing in to get the discard, and therefore go to Gold-Silver tomorrow which will enable the battle to really commence amongst the top slots.

Truswell concluded: 'Tomorrow is set to be even colder and windier with the possibility of some snow but we will do our best to stay on track with the programme and deliver a really good trial for the sailors.'

Day three of racing is set to commence at 10.25am for the RS:X’s, 10.55am for the blue and orange courses and 11.55am for 420’s and Spitfire’s tomorrow (Wednesday 3 April) with three races scheduled for all classes apart from 29er with four.

RYA website

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