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Royal London Yacht Club Etchells Youth Academy

by Jan Ford 19 Apr 08:52 PDT
Royal London Yacht Club Etchells Youth Academy © RLYC

On Saturday 13th April, eight Etchells Academy youth boats competed in the Youth Academy trials following 5 weekends of intense training on and off the water, led by David Bedford and Duncan Truswell and the Race Committee from the Royal London Yacht Club.

With a 15 knot South Westerly breeze predicted to increase through the day the decision was taken to set the race course East of Osborne Bay.

Race one saw the youngest team from Greig City Academy (sailing as a 3) take a win onboard Palaver, proving very quick upwind, followed closely by bow 57 skippered by Harry Cowell, David Bromilow's Audrey came in 3rd.

The second of the 6 races on day one saw, Hamish Pimm on Astrid take the first of 4 wins in a dominant display. Only Palaver would take another win on day one in race 3. A notable improvement was seen throughout the day onboard Sumo - Maisie Harkness, with a 5th, 6th and 7th place.

At the end of the first day Astrid was comfortably in first place, Kai Hockley in 2nd on Palaver with David Bromilow's Audrey looking strong in 3rd.

The race committee 's work was outstanding, with very short delays between racing and very good courses set in the shifty conditions.

Sunday morning saw a 2 hour AP displayed due to the lack of wind, but the motivation of the fleet was clear as they hung on and were rewarded by a steady 14 knot breeze. The course was set right next to 4N, a buoy named in tribute to legendary sailor Ben F Wood. With a strong flood tide there was a crucial tactical decision about whether to go right or left to avoid the stronger tide. 4N is right on the edge of the main channel and going too far left was likely to be costly. Audrey spotted this perfectly and went to the right, gaining a 1st and two 2nds during the day. Astrid was stuck out on the left for the first two races but produced an outstanding bullet in the last race to win the regatta on a tie break with Audrey. Palaver finished 3rd with Alison 4th.

Noteable performances on the second day came from Charlie Fernandez's Mano and Owen Colbern's Shamal achieving 2nd and 3rd places in individual races.

It was an honour to welcome the family of Ben Wood to the prize-giving.

7 Etchells have been awarded boats for the season to make a strong youth fleet and 31 new young sailors are now added to Etchells Fleet. The fleet had a pleasing diversity of ages, gender and ethnicity- perhaps a model for other sailing fleets around the UK.

Many thanks to David Beford and Duncan Truswell for their management of the whole Etchells Youth Academy, David Franks and David Mclean for the use of the boats and the coaching team who provided valuable tips for all of the fleet throughout the 5 weekends.

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