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2014 RYA Zone Championships - Aspiring Oxford sailors excel

by RYA on 10 Oct 2014
2014 RYA Zone and Home Country Championships RYA
2014 RYA Zone and Home Country Championships - Three young sailors from Oxford competed against other Olympic hopefuls and won their classes at the RYA Zone South Zone Championships at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA), the Olympic sailing venue, on 27-28 September.

Over 1,000 competitors took part nationally in the event, held in different zones across the UK.

Oxford Sailing Club’s Rafferty Read (10), won four out of seven races to earn top spot in the 4.5 windsurfer fleet.

Rafferty is following in the footsteps of big sister Alice who also started windsurfing at Oxford with the RYA Team15 programme and is now competing successfully at international level.

A delighted Rafferty said:'This is my first year of racing and I love windsurfing, especially when I win races!'

Julian Tait (15), also from Oxford Sailing Club took six wins and a second for a clear victory in the windsurfer 5.8 fleet.

Julian said: 'Despite the light winds I thoroughly enjoyed the event and learnt some new skills. I’m looking forward to the next racing opportunity at Farmoor.'

Away from the windsurfing, Hugo Burrows (12), a member of West Oxfordshire Sailing Club, won a closely fought Topper dinghy class, where just four points covered the first six boats.

The sailors enjoyed fantastic racing conditions, with sunshine and a good breeze over the two days.

In addition to their RYA High Performance Manager, the sailors also had the chance to showcase their skills in front of the British Sailing Team’s Eilidh McIntyre. The 470 class Rio 2016 Olympic hopeful spent the day out on the water, chatting to the young competitors before watching all the action unfold.

She said: 'We have had some challenging conditions down here today at WPNSA for the final day of competition and I have been really impressed with the standard of racing and the attitude of the young sailors across all classes. They were all giving it there best and all really looked to be enjoying themselves which is so nice to see. It is great to see the event so well attended and with so many promising young sailors coming through the ranks.

'I can remember competing at the same event when I was younger – this is where it all starts and it is amazing to see so many youngsters really enjoying their sailing.'

The Championship has proved once again to be one of the biggest and most popular events on the RYA Racing calendar and it traditionally marks the end of the Junior racing season.

The RYA High Performance Managers witnessed some impressive dinghy and windsurf racing from the nation’s Olympic hopefuls who have been competing for selection into the RYA Zone and Home Country squads.

The event, split over nine venues, attracted an assortment of sailors, supporters and volunteers from clubs and training centres across Great

Britain and has given the young competitors the chance to experience big regatta racing without having to travel far from their home sailing clubs.

The less experienced sailors competing in the Regatta fleets will have honed their racing skills and overall ability after venturing out onto the competitive circuit for the first time.
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