Youths set for battle

The RYA Youth National Championships are to begin this week at Hayling Island, UK

Tuesday April 10th 2007, Author: Lindsey Bell, Location: United Kingdom
Some 330 of the UK’s finest young sailors will descend on the Hayling Island Sailing Club this week ready for start of racing at the RYA Youth National Championships and Trials on Tuesday (10 April).

As well as fighting for bragging rights and the chance to be crowned Youth National Champion, Britain’s young sailing elite will also have the chance to grab the attention of selectors for the RYA National Youth Squad, and could also earn the right to represent Great Britain at the 2007 Volvo ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, which are due to be held in Kingston, Canada, from 12-21 July.

Racing will take place across five days in the Laser, Laser Radial, 29er, Hobie 16, 420 and RS:X windsurfing classes, and with 200 boats and around 330 sailors from around the UK, all under 18 years of age, this event is sure to highlight some of the country’s brightest young talents and potential future Olympic sailing stars.

The Laser Radial class sees the most entries with 106 male and female sailors registered to compete. Helensburgh’s 17-year-old Anna Dobson will be aiming for back to back Youth Nationals titles and selection for RYA Team GBR at the Youth Worlds in July for the second year in a row, while Anglesey sailors Eifion Mon and Dominic Breen-Turner, and Huntingdon’s Evan Scott will be ones to watch in the 35-boat Laser Standard class.

With the 29er set to replace the 420 as the double-handed class for the Youth Worlds this year, there are sure to be some fierce battles in this fleet during the course of the week. Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth are current Ladies World Champions and Under-19 World Champions in the class so will be hot favourites to win the girl’s national title, with Sarah Martin and Nicola Groves and their main rvials for the crown, while James Ellis and Rob Partridge and Huw Humphrey and Max Todd are expected to be amongst the frontrunners in the boy’s fleet.

After claiming gold at the 2006 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship crewing for Tom Phipps, Weymouth’s Richard Glover will be fighting for another chance to represent his country at the Youth Worlds in the Hobie 16 class – this time sailing with his younger brother Andrew. The Glovers finished second at the 2006 Youth Nationals, but Richard was drafted in to replace Phipps’ regular crew Jon Cook at the Youth Worlds last year after Cook broke his collarbone just prior to the Trials.

Imogen Stanley and Kate Macgregor will have their sights set on silverware in the girl’s 420 event, while the boy’s contest will be an interesting one with several crews capable of claiming the top spot.

In the RS:X windsurfing fleet, 17-year-old Richard Hamilton will be gunning for a second straight national title and selection to the Youth Worlds team for a second year, where he’ll be hoping to improve upon his impressive fifth place at the world event in 2006, while Elliot Carney will be another key contender for the national title and the coveted Youth Worlds spot.

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