Ellis and Partridge in top spot
The grey and misty start to the day soon developed into bright sunshine during the course of the morning, but the one vital ingredient needed to get the regatta going – the wind – refused to appear for most of the day, leading to a long wait on shore for the 330 competitors entered across six classes at this premier youth sailing event.
By 1500hrs the breeze finally appeared, allowing the 29er and Laser Radial classes to finally see some action inside the harbour, but for the Laser Standard, RS:X, 420 and Hobie 16 classes the wait in the Hayling sunshine was in vain when racing was finally abandoned, so there will be plenty of sailors eager to get their Youth Nationals campaigns underway if the wind shows on Wednesday.
Sailors in the double-handed 29er class managed to fit in two races, with James Ellis and Rob Partridge topping the leaderboard at the end of day one, thanks to a race win and a second, while local Hayling Islander Frances Peters and Hannah Diamond have put in an early challenge. Lying in second overall and the top female boat in the fleet, Peters and Diamond are leading by two points over 29er Ladies and Under-19 World Champions Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth, indicating the fight for selection to the GBR Youth Worlds team will be a tough one.
The fleet with the biggest entry – the Laser Radials – saw one just one race on Tuesday, with Tonbridge sailor Chloe Martin and James Spencer of Christchurch both enjoying the perfect start to their regatta series, each scoring race wins in the single-handed class. Doncaster’s Tom Willis and Michael Clark of Southampton are in close pursuit, both posting second places across the two fleets.
“I think what racing we saw today initially demonstrated the depth of quality at the top of the 29er fleet,” enthused RYA Youth Racing Manager Simon Wergan, who, along with the team of RYA selectors, will this week be looking out for the young sailing stars who will compete for Great Britain at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship this July in Kingston, Canada.
“We had some difficult conditions and late starts across all the fleets today,” Wergan continued, “but the event and race teams did well to get as much racing out of the conditions as could be got.”
Race organisers are likely to have another challenging day on Wednesday with yet more light winds forecast.