National Ranking gets underway

First event to be held in Weymouth this weekend

Friday October 14th 2005, Author: Lindsey Bell, Location: United Kingdom
This weekend (15-16 October) sees the start of the autumn trio of RYA Olympic Classes National Ranking Series events, with the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy playing host to this fourth contest in the 2005 series.

This event plays an integral part for those wanting to progress up the Olympic class national ranking ladder and win grants to go on and compete at international regattas. For those more experienced sailors, the event serves the purpose of providing top class racing on home soil.

The Weymouth regatta will host boats from five of the Olympic and Paralympic classes - the 2.4m, 470 (men and women), Finn, Tornado and also the 49er, where this national ranking event is combined with the final weekend of the RYA 49er Gold Series. World silver medallists Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks racked up a 15 point lead over their nearest rivals in the opening eight races of the €2,500 Gold Series last weekend - but with double points up for grabs from the final day of racing on Sunday, there’s still everything to play for.

RYA Team GBR performance squad members Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, and Danish pairing Jonas Warrer and Martin Kirketerp are currently closest rivals to the European Champions, on 32 points apiece.

In the Tornado class, Andrew Walsh and Ed Barney currently have a slender two point lead over Simon Northrop and Matt Young at the top of the national ranking list, while in the heavyweight Finn class there’s an even closer battle at the top of the tree, with just one point between Chris Brittle, Ed Wright and Matt Howard in first, second and third respectively.

Nic Asher and Elliot Willis still head up the 470 men’s rankings, although the second placed Neil Marsden and Graham Nelson are snapping at their heels just two points behind the leaders. Pippa Wilson, the 2004 ISAF Youth World champion, and crew Sheena Craig are the top ranked team in the 470 women’s fleet and are eight points clear of their nearest competitors, Lucy MacGregor and Mary Rouk.

The 2.4m Paralympic class also sees a close contest for the top ranking spot - Megan Pascoe and Michael Cogswell are on equal points (seven each), with the number three ranked George Barker only a fraction off the pace with eight points.

“We’re looking forward to kicking off the autumn series of races, as we’ve seen some fierce competition across all the classes so far this year,” said RYA Olympic Development Squad Manager Barrie Edgington.

“We’ve got some great new talent coming through – several of the sailors from the ISAF Youth Worlds will be looking to use these events as an introduction to the Olympic classes, so it’ll be interesting to see how they fare against some of the more seasoned campaigners.”

The final two RYA NRS events of the year will take place at Rutland (29-30 October) and Warsash (12-13 November).

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