With the forecast in mind the race officers sailed four races on Saturday for the 49er class, which provided great racing for the 28 boats competing. In difficult conditions the world champions and Athens 2004 Team GB members, Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks, from Weymouth, had a close fought battle with rivals Paul Brotherton and Mark Asquith from Glossop and District Sailing Club. However, in the end it was the pairing of Brotherton and Asquith who came out on top, beating Draper and Hiscocks by just one point. In third place were Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes from Exe Sailing Club who finished five points in front of Alexandra Monteau and Damien Guillou from CN Pleslin in France, who were awarded the Holt prize for the first non-lottery funded team in the class.
Speaking about his win Brotherton said, "The level of competition was great. Four teams that were in the top ten at the world championships were sailing this weekend and the fact that it was so difficult was a good test for this time of year. Its great to keep Chris and Simon on their toes in the build up to Athens 2004."
The remaining classes only managed three races on the Saturday but this was enough to constitute a series. Guy Tipton and Chris Tattersall won the 470 class and also, as first non-lottery funded crew, the Holt prize. They beat David Edwards and Ben Redwood from Corus Sailing Club by three points.
In the single-handed Europe class Andrea Brewster from Frensham Pond Sailing Club won the first two races in a twelve strong Europe fleet, and came second in the third race behind Lizzie Vickers from Hayling Island Sailing Club. This gave Brewster a one point overall lead from Vickers. In third place Chris Gill, from Portishead Sailing Club, won the Holt prize, finishing seven points behind Vickers.
In the 2.4mR Megan Pascoe was pleased to have dominated the weekend from her fellow competitors by winning all three of the races. Pascoe from Weirwood Sailing Club commented, "Winning has shown that my winter training has paid off. There has been a great increase in 2.4mR sailors with more able-bodied sailors competing pushing up the standard of the Holt RYA National Ranking events, so winning was a great confidence boost."
In second place was the 2.4mR national coach, George Barker, from Oxford Sailing Club who also won the Holt prize with Brian Harding finishing five points behind Barker in third place.
The Finn class pushed the sailors to their physical limits in the strong wind and it was Matt Howard who worked hard to eventually beat Thomas Greig from Highcliffe Sailing Club by two points, to win the Holt prize and the weekend. In third place was Mark Andrew from Largs Sailing Club who finished with nine points.
Commenting on the event Howard said, "It is nice to see such a lot of national racers competing that don't do the international circuit. The grants available give the necessary help to those sailors that are not already in the squad and the Holt sponsorship certainly raises the profile of this great event."
Sailors will meet again in the second round of the Holt RYA National Ranking Series at the Weymouth Portland Sailing Academy over the weekend of the 27/28 March and will see racing from the 470, 49er, Finn, Europe, Yngling, Tornado and Mistral classes.
1, Guy Tipton/Chris Tattersall, Oxford SC (1,1,2) 4 pts
2, David Edwards/Ben Redwood, Corus SC (2,2,3) 7 pts
3, Melissa Heppell/crew unknown, Beer SC (4,3,1) 8 pts
1, Matt Howard (2,1,1) 4 pts
2, Thomas Greig, Highcliff SC (1,2,3) 6 pts
3, Mark Andrew, Largs SC (4,3,2,) 9 pts
1, Andrea Brewster, Frensham Pond SC (1,1,2) 4 pts
2, Lizzie Vickers, Hayling Island SC (2,2,1) 5 pts
3, Chris Gill, Portishead SC (5,3,3) 11 pts
1, Megan Pascoe, Weirwood SC (1,1,1) 3 pts
2, George Barker, Oxford SC (3,2,2) 7 pts
3, Brian Harding (5,3,4) 12 pts
1, Paul Brotherton/Mark Asquith, Glossop and District SC (2,1,2,(5)) 5 pts
2, Chris Draper/Simon Hiscocks, Weymouth and Portland SA (1,4,1,(4)) 6 pts
3, Stevie Morrison/Ben Rhodes, Exe SC ((6),2,3,1) 6 pts