RYA National Match Racing line up
Crews earned their berths at the final through the seven qualifying rounds, the RYA Youth National Match Racing Championships, through their positions in the ISAF world rankings, or as defending champion, with all 11 skippers now having the chance to bid for the coveted 2009 National crown.
Britain’s top ISAF ranked skipper at the event is Ali Hall, sailing with his crew Rob Grieg-Gran, Simon Skinner and Gaz Owen. Having won the Scarlino Match Racing Championships earlier this year Hall will be keen to assert his rank at the event and repeat his winning performance.
However, hot on his heels will be Nick Cherry, who will be more eager than ever to get his hands back on the RYA National Match Racing Champion trophy. Having won the finals twice in row at the 2006 and 2007 events, Cherry handed back the title to two-time match racing champion (2004, 2005) Mark Campbell-James last year, after beating him in the semi-finals and cruising to victory.
And stepping the competition up yet another level, 29-year-old Campbell-James will be back at the event defending his title and bidding for outright second place on the all-time-winners list behind double World Match Racing Champion Ian Williams.
The UK’s top three female ranked skippers, Lucy Macgregor, Mary Rook, and Katie Archer, will also be battling it out at the event keen to assert some female authority on the proceedings.
Putting together a strong campaign competing at almost all the qualifying events this year, young skipper Mark Lees secured his place at the finals over the August bank holiday by claiming victory at the RYA National Youth Match Racing Championships. Lees took the Youth crown from two-time Youth Champion Sam Goodchild who moved up out of the Youth category this year and sealed a place at the finals winning Qualifier 2.
Also qualifying for the Finals at the Youth National Championships was rookie skipper Nick Wilkinson who took runners-up spot having moved up from crewing for Goodchild to skipper his own crew this year of Rory Spriggs, Guy Stephens Sam Delo and Jonty Cook. And victory at Qualifier 1 back in April tied up Ian Dobson’s National final spot with Andy Shaw securing his berth for the three days having won the BUSA (British University Sailing Association) Match Racing Championships.
Racing, in J80s, gets underway at 10:00 on Friday (9 October) with a 22 flight round-robin which will be followed by knock-out quarter-final and semi-final rounds before the Champion is decided in the final round on Sunday.
Skipper ISAF Ranking
Ali Hall 56
Nick Cherry 59
Andrew Shaw 97
Mark Campbell-James 165
Lucy Macgregor 213
Katie Archer 216
Mary Rook 217
Mark Lees 232
Sam Goodchild 275
Ian Dobson 596
Nick Wilkinson 0