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North East & Yorkshire Youth Travellers (NEYYTS) at Covenham Sailing Club

by Martin Redmond 17 Jun 07:51 PDT 12 June 2021

Early to rise is the normal weekend routine of youth sailors and their families who travel around the region for the North East and Yorkshire Youth Travellers Series. On Saturday 12th June 2021, a total of 20 youths from three travelling clubs, Filey SC, Pennine SC, Ripon SC - plus hosts Covenham SC - descended upon Covenham reservoir for the sixth event of the series.

This venue is the furthest south and east for many. Upon arrival, to the surprise of the Travellers, preparations were well under way due to the early start of the club volunteers; the first open event at Covenham SC after the gradual release of restrictions, moving towards normal life after the pandemic.

Upon arrival and whilst boat rigging, there was a buoyant mood amongst youth sailors, excited at the prospect of fair wind conditions, where, up to date, preceding events were greeted with little or light wind. As boats launched with clouds and a good wind from the Lincolnshire Wolds to the west, the race team and safety crew/mark layers were well prepared with a triangular course already set from the early start.

Hoping to get proceedings quickly under way with a format of four races planned, it was at this time when the Covenham witches (the historic emblem logo of Covenham SC is based on local folklore) cast their spell on the winds where, throughout the morning, the wind swung to most points of the compass at one time or another.

Principal Race Officer, Mike Bayliss stated, "I was impressed by the patience of the young sailors in the morning, while two different winds - 60 degrees apart - battled for supremacy... that is, when it wasn't almost completely calm." The morning was a constant battle to set a course, however after 1.5 hours the race committee decided to take an early and short lunch in the hope that the wind would return.

Returning to the water, the sailors now topped up with food and drink plus suncream, the wind filled in as the clouds made way for an afternoon of glorious sunshine. After another short delay the north west wind reappeared and stayed steady enough to get race 1 under way after a clean start.

The order of the day was quickly set from the start with the faster PY boats of Harry Nickells (Laser) and Alex Horsman (Byte CII) leading the way, with the chasing pack of Laser 4.7, Topper, Picos and RS Teras. Amazingly the wind held fair for the whole of Race 1 and only as the last few crossed the line did a new wind appear with a 120-degree shift.

The experience of regular sailors in this year's series presented the top ten ranking sailors for race 1, won by the slimmest of time margin by Henry Redmond (Laser 4.7), with fellow club sailor Harry Nickells (Laser) pushed into second place and Liam Boyce (Laser 4.7, Filey SC) in third place.

After a quick course rebuild race 2 was off and running whilst the PRO prayed the wind would hold. For the most part it did, but with the occasional swing to seaward.

The top order changed in race 2 with Harry Nickells moving into first place, and visiting sailors, Archie Burton (Laser 4.7, Pennine SC) plus Alex Horsman (Byte CII, Ripon SC) finishing second and third respectively. The chasing pack continued to jostle for finishing positions with the Regatta Fleet sailing confidently around the course after on-the-water coaching support provided by Covenham SC Principal, Simon Thompson.

Race 3 provided wind which is a little more expected at Covenham. The sea breeze now from the south east, a full 180 degrees from race 1, now steadied and racing was started as soon as possible to make the scheduled finish time. Harry Nickells' (Laser) good sail selection allowed him to sail away from the changing order of the chasing fleet with mini class battle of Laser 4.7s allowing other sailors to rise with good race three finishes.

Kyla Baxter (Topper, Covenham SC) continued her good form finishing second, with Alex Horsman in 3rd. Debut Covenham SC sailor's Imogen Wright (Pico) and Charlie Hammond (Topper) finishing race 3 in fourth and fifth place respectively.

Presented by Covenham SC Commodore, Phil Nickells, the prize-giving was held in the warm afternoon sunshine with trophies from the RYA North East and individual prizes with thanks from Covenham SC and series sponsors Lulham-Robinson Sailing. With three races sailed and no discard, consistency of performance was provided by overall winner, Harry Nickells (Laser, Covenham SC) 2-1-1 and Alex Horsman 5-3-3 in second place.

The fluctuation of results in the chasing pack provided a close finish for final positions third to fifth with three sailors all finishing on 15 points. Henry Redmond (Laser 4.7, Covenham SC) benefiting on countback from his first place in race 1 to finish third overall followed by fourth placed Archie Burton (Laser 4.7, Pennine SC) and fifth placed Kyla Baxter (Topper, Covenham SC).

Other notable finishers include George Spence (Topper, Ripon SC) first junior, sixth overall, followed closely by Thomas Whitehead (RS Tera, Filey SC).

Endeavour awards of the day were presented to Ethan Wild (Topper, Ripon SC) and Charlie Hammond (Topper, Covenham SC) for their continuous effort and determination to sail the course in challenging light wind conditions for their first travelling event and first race event.

Coaching support summed up the views of many with Simon Thompson saying, "Well done to all of the youth that competed today, so proud of each and every one of you. You were awesome!" with Race Officer Mike Bayliss adding, "The sailors had been amazingly lucky to find their races almost exactly matching each timeframe the wind had chosen to blow, and with just enough consistency for fair competition."

David Rowlands was also on hand to support the race committee boat, saying, "Mike's team of safety/mark boats worked really well and quickly to adjust things as the wind moved around."

Now halfway through the twelve-event series there is much to play for in the overall standings with several sailors now having sufficient finishes for overall standings in the southern division and overall series. There is still time to join the series as the NEYYTS series now moves on to Sheffield Viking SC this coming weekend with further planned events in July and September.

For series and entry details, please go to

Overall Results:

PosDivisionClassSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1stMainLASER203965Harry NickellsCovenham SC2114
2ndMainBYTE CII1625Alex HorsmanRipon SC53311
3rdMainLASER 4.7206839Henry RedmondCovenham SC141015
4thMainLASER 4.7207087Archie BurtonPennine SC42915
5thMainTOPPER20272Kyla BaxterCovenham SC76215
6thMainTOPPER45735George SpenceRipon SC65819
7thMainRS Tera Sport3829Thomas WhiteheadFiley SC88622
8thMainLASER 4.7210212Liam BoyceFiley SC391123
9thMainTopper42542Charlie HammondCovenham SC137525
10thMainPICO6Imogen WrightCovenham SC1112427
11thRegattaRS Tera Sport3830Daniel WhiteheadFiley SC1010727
12thRegattaRS Tera Sport2584Molly WilsonFiley SC913.51436.5
13thMainPICO8Hayden GibsonCovenham SC1213.51237.5
14thRegattaPICO5Jamie WellsCovenham SC16111542
15thRegattaPICOC2James WrightCovenham SC14151342
16thRegattaPICOC5Ruby TildesleyCovenham SC1519.51650.5
17thRegattaPICO9Daniel Skelton‑ChurchCovenham SC17181752
18thMainTopper18684Rory BuckleCovenham SC20161854
19thRegattaPICO18Flinn KennedyCovenham SC18171954
20thRegattaTOPPER45417Ethan WildRipon SC1919.52058.5

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