Mills and Clark show the way
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark got off to a flyer this weekend as the Skandia Team GBR duo lead the way in the 470 class at the year’s opening 2012 RYA Olympic Classes Spring Series event.
The weekend was the first of the two regattas contested as part of the 2012 RYA Olympic Classes Spring Series in Weymouth and Portland and welcomed both seasoned campaigners and new faces as the sailors battled it out in sunny, breezy conditions on the Saturday followed by much lighter winds on the Sunday.
Mills and Clark, GBR’s representatives at the 2012 Games and who recently won silver medals at the Perth 2011 World Championships and at the Rolex Miami OCR, battled off strong competition from Skandia Team GBR Development Squad sailors Sophie Weguelin/Sophie Ainsworth as they posted two bullets on the opening day to finish the weekend three points in front of their closest rivals. Ben Saxton/Richard Mason followed behind in third while recently selected Team GB 470 sailors Luke Patience/Stuart Bithell occupied fourth.
In the 49er class, James Peters/Ed Fitzgerald were unstoppable out on the Olympic waters of Weymouth Bay as the pair notched up six out of six race wins to secure regatta honours in emphatic style. Henry Lloyd Williams/Sam Batten, recent graduates of the RYA Volvo Youth Racing programme, sit a long way off in second place while James McIntosh/Brendan Jenner and Max Richardson/Nick Redding sit hot on their heels in joint third.
Last year’s 2011 Spring Series champion James Hadden was once again amongst the top half of the fleet in the Finn class as he posted a first and second on the Sunday to leave him third overall. Allen Burrell leads the way after securing two bullets on the opening day to cement him at the top of the Finn leader board, five points above second place Peter McCoy competing at his first ever Finn Regatta.
The boards completed five races across the course of the weekend with Tom Squires leading the pack in the RSX 9.5 fleet, two points ahead of Ali Masters and three points ahead of third place Elliot Carney.
In the larger RSX 8.5 fleet of 11 sailors, 2011 Techno 293 Windsurfing World Champion and last year’s Spring Series champion Kieran Martin continued his dominance by posting four bullets over the two days of racing. Skandia Team GBR Development Squad member Izzy Hamilton sits second with Stuart Hards rounding off the regatta three points behind in third.
Meanwhile in the Paralympic classes, Helena Lucas clinched five out of six race wins to take event victory ahead of Megan Pascoe who finished four points behind in second. Will Street finished the weekend in third.
The SKUD class welcomed three competitors on the Saturday with Alex Hovden/Curtis French taking all four race wins ahead of Dave Durston/Christine Spray in second and Judith Figgures/Bruce Dudley in third.
Skandia Team GBR Development Squad Manager, Barrie Edgington, commented: “The weather gods played fair to kick off the domestic season in fine style matched by a good turnout turn out of 65 boats across the classes this weekend.
“The Finns were well populated with a good mix of youth and new faces and experience with the weekend being part of the qualifier series for the both Finn Masters and Gold Cup, both being held in the UK this year.
“In relative terms this was the theme across the classes with a number of new faces, eager to win international grants, making the transition into Olympic boats and getting the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the world’s best. The final weekend take place on the 14-15 April and competitors should book entry before the 9 April to avoid the late entry fee,” concluded Edgington.
The final weekend of the 2012 RYA Olympic Classes Spring Series for all nine Olympic and Paralympic classes will commence on the 14th-15th April, with an entry deadline of the 9th April.
For full details on the 2012 RYA Olympic Classes Spring Series and for a full list of results please visit the RYA Racing website at www.ryaracingevents.org.uk
2012 RYA Olympic Classes Spring Series – WPNSA:
1st James Peters/Ed Fitzgerald
2nd Henry Lloyd Williams/Sam Batten
3rd James McIntosh/Brendan Jenner
1st Richard Mason/Ben Saxton
2nd Luke Patience/Stuart Bithell (yellow flag in 5th race – came last)
3rd Ben Palmer/Bleddyn Mon
1st Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark
2nd Sophie Weguelin/Sophie Ainsworth
3rd Jo Freeman/Katie Tomsett
1st Tom Squires
2nd Ali Masters
3rd Elliot Carney
1st Kieran Martin
2nd Izzy Hamilton
3rd Stuart Hards
1st Helena Lucas
2nd Megan Pascoe
3rd Will Street
1st Alex Hovden/Curtis French
2nd Dave Durston/Christine Spray
3rd Judith Figgures/Bruce Dudley