The premier event for Youth sailors in the UK will get underway next week when Great Britain’s top young talent will converge on North Wales to do battle at the 2008 RYA Youth National Championships and Trials.
More than 260 of the country’s best Under 19 dinghy sailors, in around 200 boats, will contest no fewer than 27 trophies across six classes when racing takes place at Pwllheli Sailing Club from Monday 31 March to Friday 4 April.
Among the most intriguing contests set to play out on the Pwllheli waters include the race for boys’ 29er class glory.
World Under 19 29er champions Max Richardson and Alex Groves are guaranteed to have their work cut out in their bid to add the National title to their World crown with the main challenges set to come from World Under 19 silver medallists Bleddyn Mon and Tom Humphreys as well as James Peters and Ed Fitzgerald and Mike Wood and Ollie Spensley-Corfield.
The Laser class could prove to be a four-way contest with 2007 Youth Nationals silver medallist Evan Scott and Oli Tweddell, who both made Gold fleet at the recent Senior Laser Standard World Championships, going head-to-head with reigning RYA National champion Stuart Godwin and Skandia Team GBR Development Squad sailor Eifion Mon.
With the SL16 replacing the Hobie16 as the catamaran at this year’s RYA Nationals, reigning ISAF Youth Worlds Hobie 16 champion Andy Glover is teaming up with ISAF Youth Worlds 29er bronze medallist James Ellis.
Meanwhile two of the most successful RYA National Junior Squad Bic Techno graduates – Izzy Hamilton and Sophie Bailey – are aiming to upset Kirsten O’Callaghan’s domination of the female Youth RS:X 8.5 event while Under 17 Bic Techno World Champion Ali Masters will be hoping to make a medal-winning step up to the RS:X arena.
The Championships, as always, will form part of the official RYA National Youth Squad review process and act an indicator for sailor support for the relevant class World and European Championship events over the summer as well as selection for the ISAF Youth Worlds in Denmark in July.
The sailors can also look forward to a full programme of events off the water including Simon Hiscocks, 49er medallist at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, providing open coaching debriefs for the first two days of the event and Team Origin grinder Ian Weighell talking about America’s Cup campaigning on Wednesday.
HRH The Princess Royal, President of the Royal Yachting Association, will also visit Pwllheli on Thursday to see the latest crop of talented sailors coming through the ranks.
For more information on the 2008 RYA Youth National Championships and Trials visit www.ryaracingevents.org.uk