Southern Zone champions

Youngsters prove their worth at Hayling Island

Tuesday July 1st 2003, Author: Flavia Bateson, Location: United Kingdom
Hayling Island Sailing Club was buzzing with activity last weekend, 28-29 June as the venue for the RYA South Zone Championships, open to keen youngsters all under the age of 17.

Dinghy racing classes included the single-handed Optimist and Topper, as well as the double-handed Mirror and Cadet. The new one-design asymmetric RS Fevar also featured, with a fleet of 16, and there were entries too in a mixed handicap section.

Light winds prevailed on the first day in a gentle south-easterly, when shorter courses were laid. On Sunday the breeze freshened Force 2 to 3. The Optimists and Cadets sailed inside the harbour with the other classes racing in the entrance towards the West Wittering side. Conditions were smooth with longer courses set. Lighter crews found the racing more testing and there were a number of capsizes but everyone enjoyed the warm sunny weather.

The Optimist fleet was the largest with 60 entries. Robbie Claridge from Lymington took first place followed by Matthew Rainback from Poole. Alastair Nichol from Emsworth Slipper Sailing Club headed the Topper fleet gaining two firsts and two seconds in the six race series. Next placed were Rory Paterson and Nigel Dakin, both from Stokes Bay Sailing Club. Competing confidently in tidal conditions, Aaron Cooper and Rebecca Hopwood in the Cadet class from Frensham Pond Sailing Club put in an impressive performance finishing with 9 points from six races and able to discard their lowest sixth place. They were followed by Ben Lyon and Robert Moore from Highcliffe and Ben Muskett and Pip Wegulin from the Royal Lymington Yacht Club - just one point separating second from third place.

All girl teams took first and second places in the Fevar class with Maria Stanley and Hannah Diamond from Warsash first on 8 points. Frances Peters and Olivia Pettit from the home club at Hayling were 4 points adrift in second. Two Hill Head Sailing Club pairings led the Mirror fleet with Ned McNulty and Tom Hodkinson first and Tom Robinson and Shaun Mason second, both on nine points, but two firsts put Ned and Tom ahead on the tie-break.

Max Holloway from the Royal Lymington was in the enviable position of being able to discard a first place when he took the mixed handicap class with six straight wins.

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