Vindication for Cherry

Nick Cherry wins the Volvo RYA National Youth Match Racing championship

Tuesday August 26th 2003, Author: Jo Grindley, Location: United Kingdom
Last year Nick Cherry was runner-up to Paul Campbell James, this year he took the title of Volvo RYA National Youth Match Racing Champion. In doing so he won himself and two crew-members a trip to New Zealand to compete for Great Britain at the Coca Cola Cup, the Youth Match Racing World Championships, and a place in the RYA National Match Racing Finals next month.

It was no easy task for the eighteen-year-old from land locked Solihull, who was just back from competing at the 420 Worlds, where he had finished in 12th place. The team only just made it through every round robin by the skin of their teeth, they lost the first race of the semi-finals to Ed Males, only to show complete composure in the finals and beat on form Simon Wheeler 2-0, in convincing fashion.

"We won by the skin of our teeth, it was experience that pulled us through in the end" commented Nick after the customary dunking in Weymouth and Portland Harbour by his fellow crewmates. "I'm excited about the prospect of going to New Zealand, I will take my middle-man James (Roche) with me and are now looking for a big hairy middleman to bring us up to weight. We want to win in New Zealand and would like to make the semi finals at the National Match Race Finals next month" concluded Nick.

Also winning themselves a place at the RYA National Match Racing Finals is runner-up Simon Wheeler and his crew from Poole, Dorset. Simon won the final round robin and chose to race Joe Henry in the semi-finals. A convincing 2-0 win put the team into the final against Nick Cherry. Match one of the finals saw the two boat no more than 2 boat lengths apart for the entire race, Cherry was a boat length ahead at the finish. Everyone expected another close fought battle in race two. Instead Wheeler entered early receiving a penalty, only then to be shut out at the committee boat as the gun was
fired. Cherry cruised to victory.

In the play off for third and fourth place, Ed Males (Pembury, Kent) beat Joe Henry (Guildford, Surrey) 2-0.

Although many of those competing were sampling both keelboat sailing and match racing for the first time, the standard of sailing and boat handling was good. Six of the teams competing, and both finalists, had undertaken the RYA match race training on the four days preceding the event.

RYA Racing Services Manager Dave Atkinson was impressed with the quality of sailors competing "The most pleasing aspect of the championship is the new crop of sailors taking up keelboat sailing and match racing for the first time. Nick proved a worthy winner and now pending ratification by the RYA Match Race Group, he will be representing Great Britain at the Coca Cola Cup next January in New Zealand."

The Volvo RYA National Youth Match Racing Championships forms part of Volvo Car (UK) Ltd sponsorship of the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme.


1st Nick Cherry, James Roche, Tom Mapplebank, Myles Willis, Lucy Cripps
2nd Simon Wheeler, Justin Visser, Sam Pearson, Ryan Visser, Pete Johnson
3rd Ed Males, Jon Firmston, Conor Byrne, Bess Mayhew
4th Joe Henry, Tom Edge, Andrew Clewer, Alistair Kemp
5th Jon Pinner, Oliver Burdal, David Royse, Philip Bickerton
6th Sophie Harrison,Simon McCarthy, Gaz Owen, Andy Mackay, Ben Muskett

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