Giles Scott nicked the 2008 RYA Olympic Classes National Ranking Series Finn class title by the narrowest of margins as he won the third and final Series event at Weymouth and Portland National Academy (WPNSA) last weekend (18-19 October).
Scott, the reigning World Under 21 Finn champion, went into the showdown neck-and-neck with Skandia Team GBR teammate Andrew Mills, both sailors having picked up first and second-placed overall finishes at the previous two Series events.
But it was 21-year-old Scott who edged the overall 2008 Series crown by just a single point, picking up two race wins and three seconds at WPNSA to finish the deciding event on eight points to Mills’ nine to take the regatta win and the title.
World Junior 470 champions Hannah Mills and Katrina Hughes made no mistake in wrapping up Series women’s double-handed dinghy victory, winning their second successive Ranker event courtesy of four race wins and a second.
With their fifth place at the Series opener, the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, last month, it meant the pair finished on seven points in the final 470 Women’s standings with Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth their nearest challengers on 15 points in total.
A second consecutive event victory for up-and-coming windsurfer Richard Hamilton also helped him clinch the overall RS:X 9.5 title, taking four out of a possible six race wins to hold off the challenge of Elliot Carney and take the Series win with 11 points to Carney’s 12. Meanwhile, in the 49er class Paul Campbell-James and Mark Asquith clinched final event victory to also make it back-to-back Series event wins for the pair who comfortably took the Series honours from John Pink and Rick Peacock, who finished third this weekend behind Britain’s Beijing 2008 49er representatives Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, Skandia Sail for Gold winners last month.
Series consistency was the key for Luke Patience and Chris Grube in tying up the Men’s 470 title.
The promising duo may have settled for second behind Skandia Team GBR’s World and European champions Nic Asher and Elliott Willis at WPNSA but third and second place finishes at the first two Series regattas saw Patience and Grube end the Series on seven points with James Rusden and Dan Schieber second overall on 16.
RYA Youth Squad sailor and RS:X 8.5 World silver medallist Ali Masters also eased to the Series 8.5 crown despite a fourth-placed finish this weekend. The 16-year-old from Somerset followed up his Sail for Gold second with a Ranker 2 win to end the Series on seven points.
A second-place finish for Sam Latham this weekend saw him jump to second in the overall Series standings tied on level points with Beth Williamson but given the nod on account of his higher place finish at the final Ranker.
The RYA National Ranking Series is designed to provide opportunities for aspiring Olympians and all UK Olympic Classes sailors to race against world class performers.
This weekend also saw double Olympic 470 silver medallist Joe Glanfield team up with ISAF Youth World 29er champion helm Frances Peters in the 470, Glanfield passing on his expert advice to the 17-year-old RYA Youth Squad talent.
2008 RYA Olympic Classes National Ranking Series final standings (overall points after three events – cumulative scores of final placings from each Ranker event):
1) Luke Patience/Chris Grube – 7 points
2) James Rusden/Daniel Schieber - 16
3) Ben Saxton/David de Boltz - 25
1) Hannah Mills/Katrina Hughes - 7
2) Sophie Weguelin/Sophie Ainsworth - 15
3) Hannah Rowles/Alice Currey - 23
1) Paul Campbell-James/Mark Asquith - 7
2) John Pink/Rick Peacock - 10
3) Dave Evans/Simon Hiscocks - 11
1) Giles Scott - 4
2) Andrew Mills - 5
3) Mark Andrews - 9
1) Richard Hamilton - 11
2) Elliott Carney - 12
3) Ashley Barratt - 36
1) Ali Masters - 6
2) Sam Latham - 9
3) Beth Williamson - 9
Full results from this weekend’s National Ranker can be found at www.wpnsa.org.uk/results.htm