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Southern Spars

RYA Youth Match Racing Championship - Mark Lees becomes the champion

by Rob E Goddard on 22 Oct 2013
Philip Bendon leads Mark Lees into a start of the Final Nigel Vick
Mark Lees became the 2013 RYA Youth Match Racing Champion at the end of an exciting final which needed all five races and came right down to moves at the finish line before it was decided.

In fact, the whole event was tightly contested. At the end of the round robin stage the top and the bottom three teams were tied with the same number of wins. Tie breaks were applied, resulting in Semi finals of Tom Harrison against Mark Lees and Philip Bendon against Jason Saints, These were quickly completed with Mark and Philip, seeded no one and two, going through to the final 2:0.

Meanwhile, there were mini round robins and knockouts to allow maximum sailing time for the remaining participants and to determine the lower places.

The Finals and third/4th playoff were first to three points or best of five races. Jason Saints settled the 3/4 battle quickly with three straight wins over Tom Harrison. The final, though, was another matter entirely.
two they were neck and neck at the windward mark when a luff by Philip Bendon earned him a penalty allowing Mark to go 2:0 up. However, match three went to Philip Bendon and Lees was penalised for pumping. Match 4 went to Philip, setting up a fifth deciding match.

A pre-start penalty put Bendon at a disadvantage. They split at the start with Lees going right and Bendon left. As they came together, half way up the first beat, Lees held a slight advantage. They exchanged tacks for the rest of the beat but at the mark it was Lees rounding inside of Bendon. However, Bendon was quicker downwind and lead by a boat length at the leeward mark. He held the lead at the windward mark and down the final run, taking Lees out to the left of the committee boat, as he either had to complete his penalty or get a cancelling penalty on Lees. It was not to be however. Lees stayed out of trouble and as they slowly came past the committee boat was able to sneak behind Bendon and across the line to take the event and become RYA Youth Match Racing Champion.

1st Mark Lees, 2nd Philip Bendon, 3rd Jason Saints, 4th Tom Harrison, 5 Andrew Wishart, 6 Matt Deacon-Smith, 7 Dan Stokes 8James Cunneston, 9 Nathan Howell (Kings School)

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