Mark C-J - still got it
Mark Campbell-James jumped to joint first on the all-time winners list after sealing his fifth RYA National Match Racing Championship crown at Queen Mary Sailing Club this weekend.
Campbell-James, who won his four other titles in 2009, 2008, 2005, 2004, has now overtaken the quadruple ISAF World Match Racing Champion Ian Williams on the overall winners’ chart and now sits tied with two-time Olympian and America’s Cup sailor Andy Beadsworth’s five National crowns won between 1992 and 2000.
Moderate winds and fair weather graced the waters of QMSC allowing the full schedule of races to unfold. The round robin stages were dominated by two familiar names to the event; Paul Campbell-James and Mark Campbell-James with Paul winning all his races in the round robin and Mark winning all but one of his races, losing only to his younger brother.
At the close of the Round Robin and through the early stages of the knock-outs, the finals seemed destined for a ‘Battle of the Brothers’ with Mark Campbell-James, Paul Campbell-James, Ali Hall and Sam Pearson progressing to the Semi Finals with clear wins in their matches respectively.
However, all was not in the Campbell-James odds in the Semi Finals with both bouts going to the wire with a 2-1 win to Mark Campbell-James over Ali Hall who put up a convincing fight against Mark coming back with a win in the second match of their semi-final and a 2-1 win to Sam Pearson being the only competitor to beat Paul Campbell-James throughout the entire event.
The Finals were won by Mark Campbell-James over Sam Pearson with three clear wins who put in a solid effort which however was not enough to beat the now five times winner of the RYA National Match Racing Finals Mark Campbell-James.
Campbell-James said of this win at Queen Mary Sailing Club: “It feels fantastic to win the title for a fifth time. We were hopeful that we could win the event, but didn’t expect it as we haven’t match raced since last year’s event where we finished runners up behind Ian Williams and his team.”
“The Final was mainly won on the start where we were able to get ahead and then able to keep a tight cover on them for the rest of the race. We had an extremely tight semi final with Ali Hall, which went to the deciding race and had lots of penalties.
“The conditions this weekend at Queen Mary were great. It is the first time in a very long time that we have managed to get through the schedule so easily - credit to the race management team who did a fantastic job as always. It was just a great weekend, with some really tight racing – it’s always nice to sail in the sun even thought it was tad cold!
Campbell-James continued: “The key to our success this weekend seemed to be our boat speed, we were very fast and kept the boat handling very clean. My team were excellent and kept me honest. Winning the event is always fun and it is a great regatta to compete in. We will definitely be back again next year to defend our title and attempt to win the title for a sixth time.”
His father, David Campbell-James, RYA Match Racing Chairman, commented: “This was the 25th anniversary of the Eacott Trophy for the RYA National Match Racing Championship so it was good to have ten excellent teams, great conditions and a full racing programme. Thanks must go to the Umpires and the Race Committee for the weekend and to Royal Thames Yacht Club and the Royal Yacht Squadron for loaning us the boats and to Queen Mary for hosting the Final. We now move back to Weymouth for the first of four Winter Match Racing weekends on the 7th and 8th December.”
2013 RYA National Match Racing Championship final results:
1st Mark Campbell-James - Graham Sunderland, Jonathan Taylor and Andy Clark
2nd Sam Pearson - Tom Dawson, Nick Butt, Simon Wheeler and Paul Childs
3rd Paul Campbell-James - Chris Draper, Sam Richmond, Dan Gohl and Archie Goodwin
4th Ali Hall - Chris Webber, James Boadle and Ashley Rudd
5th Mark Lees - David Bedford, Kelvin Matthews and Chris Dorey
6th Matt Greenfield - Max Kenna, David Rolfe and Oliver Bennett
7th Nick Wilkinson - Will Morgan, Hermione Stanley, Fred Brown and Jonty Cook
8th Jack Fenwick - Dan Sanders, Doug Maguire and Lizzie Shawcroft
9th Annabel Vose - Sara Kier Wright, Kate Devereux, Amy Prime and Alice Butler
10th Robert Bunce - Will Semken, Bruno Van Dyke and Michael Barns