Event director Helen Cartwright is confident Britain’s windsurfing champions of tomorrow were among the 62-strong fleet when the country’s most promising young windsurfers did battle at the first ever RYA National Junior Windsurfing Championships at Whitwell, Rutland Water this last weekend.
Sailed in almost perfect racing conditions – with light six-eight knots of breeze on Saturday and eight-12 knots on day two - seven National titles were decided across the Open and Bic Techno classes.
West Kirby Warriors’ Oliver Bradley-Baker made it back-to-back National crowns, winning the Techno 5.5 event to follow up his 2007 RYA Youth and Master Techno 4.5 success while Ross Bromhead (Tamar Tigers) settled for silver behind Bradley-Baker having won RYA Eric Twiname Championship gold the previous week.
Windsurfing definitely appears to be in the genes of the Wilson family as Emma and Daniel Wilson – children of former World Champion and British Olympian Penny Wilson (nee Way) – took the girls and the boys’ titles respectively in the Techno 3.5 in their first ever big event.
Having narrowly missed on Eric Twiname silverware with a fourth-placed finish, Robert Griffiths (North Lincolnshire & Humberside SC) walked off with Techno 4.5 gold at Whitwell while clubmate and Eric Twiname Techno 4.5 champion Emma Labourne took overall third and girls’ gold. Robert York (Covenham) made it two silvers in seven days in finishing second.
However despite being a National Championships the event was not all about who topped the podium as for many young enthusiasts who have come up through the RYA’s grassroots windsurfing scheme Team15 (T15), it was the first time they have competed at a national standard racing event. Special awards went to Zara Petts (3.5 Open) and Guy Carney (3.5 Techno) who demonstrated determination and great potential at their first ever National Championships.
Helen Cartwright said: 'The event provided the first stepping stone for many of the youngsters on their windsurfing journey and the standard of sailing and competiveness was highly impressive.
'To see such progress over two days was fantastic; the standard of sailing and the passion for windsurfing was the highest I’d seen for many seasons.
'I am absolutely sure that amongst the 62 competitors at Whitwell lay future British Champions and I look forward to watching these sailors progress over the year. Competitive windsurfing is a healthy and vibrant scene and it is a really exciting time to be involved.'
For full results visit www.ryaracingevents.org.uk