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RYA National Match Racing Championship Series 2021 Qualifier at Burnham

by Paula Irish 14 Jul 22:11 PDT 10-11 July 2021

Light airs at Burnham-on-Crouch made for a close finish in the second event of the RYA National Match Racing Championship Series 2021.

The Summer Match Racing 2 event in 707 keelboats was hosted by the Royal Corinthian YC, 10-11 July, and saw day one abandoned when the wind failed to arrive, with teams enjoying instead the hospitality of the club and a chance to catch up with friends.

The race team then managed to smash in nine flights in tricky light winds and strong tide on day two, enabling the eight teams entered to complete between three to six races each.

Joint overall winners were the teams of skippers Ted Blowers and Robbie King after each sailed and won four races without having the chance to compete against each other during the day, leaving them tied for first place.

Ted said: "It was so difficult for the race management team to set a course, they did well to get the event in given the conditions and the racing was good when we did it. When the number of races is limited it bunches up the results and because everyone else raced really well, it was really close overall. You only had to lose one race and you were out of the top few.

"For us the big learning point, especially with the tide, was that it was really important to know your time on distance. Getting that wrong had big consequences and it would be game over, which was kind of stressful but we were lucky enough to get it right most of the time."

Ted's team at Burnham had Amy Sparks on main and kite, Zak Bermon on jib and pit, and Patrick Bray on bow, and as Ted explains: "It was quite short courses so we needed good teamwork and Patrick had a bit on because it was ever-changing. You couldn't plan, you just had to make decisions, and he did a really good job."

Jack Fenwick of British Keelboat Sailing said: "It was a very light wind day with a lot of tide across the course, which had a big effect and meant that people had to work out their starting procedures differently. The breeze piped up to about 8 knots at the most but the matches were very close and everyone had a good time."

Joint winner Robbie King, sailing with Bethan Matthew, Callum Farnden, Haydn Sewell and Alex Colquitt, added: "We greatly enjoyed the weekend, and appreciated the race committee sticking at it with the sub-ideal forecast. The regatta is particularly sentimental for me, since I am planning to move to California in September to begin a PhD at Caltech, so this weekend is most likely my last British match racing regatta for a while."

The close results at the top of the leaderboard also saw a tie for third place with the teams of Alex Smallwood and Sophie Otter having an equal win rate. However, having raced each other in a match won by Alex, it was his team that was able to claim the spot on the podium.

Full results from the event can be found here and entry is now open for all the remaining upcoming events in the RYA Match Racing Series:

  • 4-5 September - Harken Youth Championships - Elliott 6Ms at WPNSA
  • 11-12 September - Marlow Ropes Women's Championships - Elliott 6Ms at WPNSA
  • 2-3 October - Summer Match Racing 3 - RS21s at Poole YC
  • 9-10 October - Summer Match Racing 4 (Ceilidh Cup) - Sonars at RN&CYC, Helensburgh
The winning teams from each event qualify to take part in the National Match Racing Championship Grand Final in RS21s at Queen Mary SC in October 2021. For further information and entry visit

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