Head to head in the 29ers
The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy welcomed superb sunshine, big waves and a fresh 15-18 knots as racing ramped up on day two of the RYA Youth National Championships.
All classes took to the water as planned and completed the full schedule of races, with standout performances coming from the 29er race course with Gillies Munro-Daniel Harris and Ruth Allan-Alice Masterman mirroring each other’s performance in their respective flights, while Sam Barker-Ross McFarline stormed to success in the Spitfire.
Scottish 29er sailors Munro and Harris revelled in today’s gusty conditions out on race course area C to take an empathic three races wins and a fifth, elevating themselves from 42nd into the podium positions at the close of play today.
“It was nice, lumpy and bumpy weather today which we love – it was great sailing so Weymouth definitely gets a thumbs up today. The wind was absolutely amazing, we really enjoyed the wind and the big waves and just had a seriously good day!” expressed Harris.
“Clean starts and then just going for absolute boat speed upwind made a massive difference today. Spotting the gusts was also crucial, there were some pretty big ones which came through so making the most of them is what made the difference.”
Both 17-years-old and members of Royal Findhorn Yacht Club, the Scottish due competed at the 2013 event at Largs Sailing Club, Scotland, and finished just outside the top ten in 11th.
“Our aims coming into this regatta was to just smash the starts and have a good consistent regatta. We also want to finish a place higher than last year so a top ten would be great. We are just going to take it one step at a time, one race at a time and see how we get on,” concluded Munro.
After an impressive opening day for Allan and Masterman yesterday, the duo continued to dominate their 29er flight with an imposing three races wins and fifth to cement their position at the top of the 29er leaderboard, opening up a ten point cushion over Munro and Harris before being split into Gold and Silver fleets for tomorrow’s racing. Owen Bowerman-Morgan Peach occupy third.
Allan said: “We had a really good day today out on the race course – we had four races and won three of them and finished fifth in the other which we are really pleased with. We didn’t expect to start the regatta of so strong to be honest but we are pleased and are really enjoying our sailing.
Masterman added: “It’s always good to beat the boys, especially as there are girl prizes so it’s usually just easier to aim for them but so far it’s nice to be up at the top and competing for the overall prize.”
In the mixed multihull Spitfire class Sam Barker and Ross McFarlane dominated proceedings sealing three races wins to overtake overnight leaders Olivier Greber and Jess Eales who have slipped into second after adding three seconds to their scorecard.
Barker, who is too old to qualify for the ISAF Youth Worlds spot come the end of the week, said: “We did alright today – we got three firsts which we are happy with. It was all about sailing conservatively because we had some stupidly big waves with some strong gusts – great fun though!”
“It’s good, tough competition this week. Everyone has been training hard over the winter and I’m sure it will be a battle all the way down to the wire which should be good for everyone come the end of the week.”
Reigning 420 RYA Youth National champion Tim Riley has taken a huge step forward in the bid to defend his crown by posting a consistent 4-1-2 from today’s three races. With six races now being completed, Riley and his crew James Taylor have discarded yesterday’s 26th which has catapulted them to the top of the leaderboard. Daniel Whiteley and James Clemetson have moved down into second after a 6-6-9 while Max Clapp and Joseph Burns sit third for today’s efforts.
Sarah Norbury and Mari Davies continue to lead the 420 female fleet and sit sixth overall, but face stiff competition from Jemima Lawson and Lily Summers who occupy seventh overall on count back. Morgan Dibb and Rosie Watkins are third female, 10th overall.
In the RS:X windsurfing event, Robert York added his first race win and two seconds to his score line to sit three points in front of second place Max Bushell who had the better day with two race wins and a second. Imogen Sills has made progress in her quest to emulate older brother Sam and twin Sister Saskia with her first Youth Nationals title with an 8-3-4 to move into third overall. Emma Wilson sits sixth overall, four points behind Sills.
With the Laser Radial only completing the one race yesterday, Niall Houston continued from where he left off and remains at the top of the leaderboard with a 2-2-3-4 from the four races completed. The regatta’s international competitor from Serbia enjoyed the big waves and strong gusts adding two bullets, sixth and third to his scorecard to move into second overall. Matt Whitfield sits third while Ellie Cumpsty is the top placed girl sitting 12th overall.
The Radial fleet with split into a Gold and Silver fleets tomorrow where the top sailors will go head-to-head for the first time at the event.
In the Laser Standard Elliot Hanson continues to dominate posting another two race wins and a second to sit him eight points in front of Jack Wetherell in second. Michael Beckett has moved into third, leapfrogging Henry Wetherell who has slipped into fourth.
In addition to the action packed day - Olympic sailing stars Hannah Mills and Nick Dempsey were on hand to inspire the next wave of Olympic hopefuls. The Olympic silver medallists visited WPNSA for the day to watch the next generation racing, and to share their experiences and top tips with the young sailors.
Racing at the RYA Youth National Championships continues on Wednesday 16th April, with the final races scheduled for Friday 18 April. Sunshine and a South Easterly 15-17 knots are forecast for tomorrow.