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RYA/BUSA Women's Winter Match Racing Championship 2024 at Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy

by British Keelboat Sailing 22 Feb 08:25 PST 17-18 February 2024
Women's Winter Match Racing Championship winners (L-R) Verity Hopkins, Sarah Jarman, Hebe Hemming and Rosie Povall © Lorna Graham

The RYA/BUSA Women's Winter Match Racing Championship saw Sarah Jarman and her team take overall victory at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy.

Eight teams battled it out in Elliott 6m keelboats over the weekend of 17-18 February 2024, ranging from experienced match racers to those giving it a go for the first time.

With new Elvstrøm sails for the British Keelboat Sailing fleet, the Saturday started with 10-12 knots of breeze, which gradually increased during the day to finish with a gusty 22 knots.

A round robin series saw young skipper Ruby Sunderland topping the leaderboard with six wins, her winter training with Cowes Match Racing paying off. The teams of Jarman and Josie Gliddon meanwhile were equal second, each with five wins.

Event Director David Campbell-James was then able to get in two flights of a second round robin although by this time the conditions were demanding with everyone having had a full-on day of racing by the end.

"While some of the teams were first timers to match racing or less experienced, we also had some very close and exciting racing through the day, and a debrief by coach Tommy Hough on the Saturday saw most of the sailors attending and a really good question and answer session."

Double round robin

On the Sunday, the sailors launched with reefed mains in anticipation of another building breeze but having set the scene, the contrary wind in fact decreased and so the reefs were taken out, with full rigs and an ideal 10-12 knots of breeze for the day's racing.

The second round robin was completed, with Gliddon winning all of her seven races and Jarman claiming six, losing only to Gliddon. This saw the overall standings from the double round robin topped by Gliddon, with Jarman second and Sunderland third.

On to the play-offs and Ella Brown beat Heather Quinn 2-0 to finish 5th overall, with Exeter University's Quinn sixth overall and winning the BUSA women's prize. In the petit final, Sunderland won two races from Amber Hale to secure a well deserved third overall.

Close final

A hard-fought final saw the first race win going to Gliddon and her team of Vicky Lincoln, Fiona Mulcahy and Isabelle Fellows.

Jarman then claimed the second and third race, the last by less than a boat length at the finish, to claim the title with her team of Rosie Povall (main/kite trimmer), Verity Hopkins (jib trim) and Hebe Hemming (bow).

Rosie said: "The weekend was really fun! The final with Josie's team proved tough competition. We tried to keep everything simple being a new team, although we didn't manage to avoid penalties completely. Irrespective of this we kept communicating, focused on boat speed and managed to take the final win."

Full results:

David summed up: "It was a really good championship and a great weekend. In addition to our match racing, the Academy was rocking with Oppies, 29ers, ILCAs and boards, who were all out training, so it was fun to be there and the dolphins were busy too."

Next up in the RYA Match Racing Series 2024 is the second qualifier of the season at Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch, 9-10 March, followed by Q3 at WPNSA, 20-21 April. Entry for both of these events is open at RYA Match Racing - find out more and take part!

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