Second national ranker
Having finished top GBR 49er crew at Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta last month, the first of three 2010 RYA National Ranker Series events, Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes held of stiff competition this weekend, (18-19 September) to keep hold of their series lead at the second instalment of the series held at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.
Pushed for top spot all weekend by fellow Skandia Team GBR performance Squad sailors John Pink and Rick Peacock, the Beijing 2008 pairing asserted their dominance over the tightly packed GBR 49er squad to win out at the event with one race spare notching up a second win in the series.
“For us the main focus this year was Sail for Gold Regatta and obviously we were really pleased to come away with a medal from that. This National Ranker was not necessary top of our priorities but it’s always pleasing to do well on Weymouth waters,” Rhodes explained. “The 49er British fleet is very strong at the moment and we are very lucky in that respect. Racing this weekend was good fun and very competitive – Pinky pushed us the whole way.”
Raced on Weymouth and Portland’s Olympic waters the Exmouth duo took every opportunity to further their knowledge of the race course gathering as much information they can.
“On the Saturday we got to race out on one of the course areas we don’t usually get to race on so every time we do that we’re building up a better knowledge of the Olympic race track and it all goes into the system, it’s definitely all helpful.”
“It’s been quite a tough season for us and we’ve had to fight more than normal struggling a bit with equipment and tuning to getting our boat speed up so we’re really quite pleased with the result and look forward to defending it at the next event.”
Fresh from his gold medal winning performance at Skandia Sail For Gold and bronze posting at the Finn Gold Cup just weeks later, Giles Scott also continued his series winning form beating Ed Wright, Mark Andrews and Andrew Mills to secure event honours.
In the RS:X classes, Bryony Shaw was pushed all the way by young Development Squad sailor Izzy Hamilton in the women’s 8.5m class, the Holsworthy rising talent continuing to make her mark on the senior fleet having finished ninth at Sail For Gold. Nick Dempsey took bullets in all his races to win the men’s 9.5m class with 17-year-old Connor Bainbridge picking up a first National Ranker second place finish. Young RYA Volvo National Youth Squad sailor Sam Sills picked up a first win in the 8.5 men’s class also making a mark at the event.
The 470s saw Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell rack up a second series win off the back of their bronze from Sail For Gold with Sarah Ayton and Saskia Clark leading the women’s charge to take event victory.
Development Squad Manager Barrie Edgington was impressed with the standard of racing and urged sailors to get their entries in for the concluding event set for 9-10 October also at Weymouth and Portland.
He commented: "The weekend saw some cracking racing in great conditions on the Olympic Race areas providing some good opportunities to learn more about the venue and the standard of top class racing in the country. It’s was great to see a few new faces challenging the established names at the front particularly in the RS:X fleet."
He concluded: “There is just one more event left in the series which I’m sure will offer another great opportunity to get some quality racing in and if you get your entries in by Tuesday 5th October you can save a bit of money on the entry fee!”
RYA 2010 National Ranker 2 Results
1 - Giles Scott
2 – Mark Andrews
3 – Andrew Mills
1 - Stevie Morrison / Ben Rhodes
2 – John Pink / Rick Peacock
3 – Dave Evans / Ed Powys
1 – Bryony Shaw
2 – Izzy Hamilton
3 – Sophie Bailey
1 – Nick Dempsey
2 – Connor Bainbridge
3 – Elliot Carney
1 – Sarah Ayton / Saskia Clark
2 – Sophie Weguelin / Sophie Ainsworth
3 – Frances Peters / Eilidh McIntyre
1 – Luke Patience / Stuart Bithell
2 - Phil Sparks / Chris Grube
3 – Ben Saxton / David Kohler