Nippers draw up their battle lines
After an extremely close battle last year, it was the South East Zone who claimed the winners glory but that slate will be wiped clean with all to play for when the 2010 RYA Eric Twiname Championships take place at Rutland Sailing Club next weekend.
Now in their 24th year, the Championships are the pinnacle of the racing calendar for the RYA Zone and Home Country squads as the nine squad teams go head-to-head over two days for the prestige of picking up the coveted Eric Twiname Shield and being named top RYA Zone.
Some 325 sailors - all members of the RYA Zone/Home Country Squads invited to take part at the Championships by their respective RYA High Performance Managers – are set to compete in the Optimist, Topper, Feva, Mirror and Cadet dinghy classes with the windsurfers racing on Bic Techno boards with 4.5m, 5.8m, 6.8m and 7.8m rigs.
Last year the South East Zone proudly walked off with the Eric Twiname Shield. Their victory was awarded by the narrowest of margins with the team having won a tie-break situation which saw them claim the Championship title by the skin of their teeth from the second-placed South Zone.
Following such a close contest last year, 2010’s teams are preparing themselves for what is sure to be another exciting battle. The South East team plan to up their game and are setting their sights on a more convincing win this time round however, having suffered the bitter disappointment of losing out by such a small margin, the South team are plotting for revenge. And amidst all the posturing the remaining seven teams are quietly preparing their own assaults on the coveted Eric Twiname title and individual class honours up for grabs.
RYA Youth Racing Manager, Duncan Truswell, said: “Principally the RYA Eric Twiname Championships are a fun culmination to a winter of hard training, and give the young sailors an opportunity to pit their skills against the best of their peers from all over the UK. The standard of racing we see from the sailors at the event is always really high and a lot of hard work goes in from the squad sailors and Zone and Home Country squad coaches over the winter training months to ensure that the sailors are best prepared to compete for RYA National Junior Squad selections.
“The experience the young sailors will gain at the event being involved in a multiclass regatta of such a size so early on in their sailing careers is invaluable in their development,” he concluded.
Thanks to the long-standing and ongoing support of the Eric Twiname Memorial Trust, the event, for sailors aged between eight and 15, is very cheap to enter with almost all of the costs associated with the running of the regatta met by the RYA and the Trust.
The RYA are also delighted that Gill, marine wear designers, are coming on board to sponsor the event again this year.
The first part of the selection process for the 2010 Laser 4.7 National Junior squad will also take place alongside the Championships, with results from Rutland used in conjunction with those from further indicator events later in the season.
Racing is scheduled to start at Rutland at 11.25am on Saturday with a maximum of seven races set for the weekend (up to four races on Saturday, and up to three on Sunday). No warning signal will be made after 3pm on Sunday.