Can Lucy Macgregor take on the boys?
Ten teams will go head-to-head at Queen Mary Sailing Club over the next three days (22-24 October) to battle it out for the title of 2010 RYA National Match Racing Champions.
Crews earned their berths at the final through the five qualifying rounds, their positions in the ISAF world rankings, or as defending champion, with all ten skippers now having the chance to bid for the coveted 2010 National crown.
Britain’s top ISAF ranked skipper at the event is Robbie Allam, sailing with his crew Dave Newey, Ben Bainbridge and Jerry Fowke. Having won the Mermaid Match Racing Championships to secure his finals ticket Allam followed his top performance with two seconds at the Trapani Match Race and La Fuga Sail Cup during September and October. Clearly on form, the Parkstone Yacht Club sailor will be keen to assert his rank at the event, and continue his podium success.
However defending veteran Champions, Mark Campbell-James (2009, 2008, 2005) and Southampton’s Nick Cherry (2007,2006), will be hot on his heels, sizing each other up once again as Campbell-James prepares for a hat-trick assault and Cheery bids to even the champions table out and make amends for his past two near misses.
Campbell-James who will be joined by his brother Paul, fresh from winning the 2010 Extreme Sailing Series, commented: “The big thing for us is whether we can win it for the third time in a row this year. We haven’t sailed any match racing events since last year’s final though which means we’ll be more than a bit rusty, but we’d like to think we can give everyone a good run for it. All my crew are people I’ve sailed with before and they are all good guys who know what they are doing so I’m sure we’ll get back into to it and I’m hopeful we can get our hands on the trophy again.”
On everyone’s radars this year are the girls who look to be a potent force. Women’s World Match Racing Champion skipper Lucy Macgregor, from Poole, will be heading up one team while fellow Skandia Team GBR squad member, and Macgregor’s World Championship crew, Mark Rook will be stepping the competition up even further. And with an all-male National trophy table, the pair will be keen to capitalise on their Worlds result and make 2010’s champions the first females crowned.
“I think the girls are going to be on form – they’ve obviously been sailing well all year and they are World Champions. The interesting thing will be how much the level has moved on since last year with the girls having done so much and how the guys are going to fair against them. It’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top,” Campbell-James added.
Qualifying for the Finals at the Youth National Championships was rookie skipper 18-year-old James French who will be joined by Sam Goodchild and Sam Pearson each having secured their berths at the event at Qualifier 2. And victory at the BUSA Match Racing Championships back in April tied up Andy Shaw’s National final spot with Ali Hall picking up a wildcard place based on his GBR top four ISAF ranking.
Racing, in J/80s, gets underway at 10:00 on Friday (22 October) with a 15 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
Robbie Allam - 56
Nick Cherry - 57
Andrew Shaw - 68
Ali Hall - 124
Sam Goodchild - 198
Lucy Macgregor - 199
James French - 234
Mary Rook - 292
Mark Campbell-James - 316
Sam Pearson - 0