Photo: Nigel Vick

Conner Miller on top

Loughborough University student claims RYA Winter Match Racing Series final round

Tuesday March 25th 2014, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

Connor Miller and his crew of Mike Matthews and Tom Neilson came out on top following a windy second and final event of the RYA Winter Match Racing Series this weekend.

Aberdeen’s Miller, a current Loughborough University student, mastered the breezy conditions at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy to overcome William Goldsmith’s crew 3-1 in the final to claim weekend honours.

The RYA Winter Match Racing Series takes place in the former Olympic class Elliot 6m boats and combines part-training, part-competition with RYA coaches and a full umpire team on hand at each event.

Eight teams contested this final weekend of the 2013/14 series, with Nick Wilkinson, sailing with Robbie Hooper and Fred Brown, opening the preliminary round robin stage with a bang claiming seven race wins, while Annabel Vose and her crew followed closely behind in second to claim the two top spots.

Miller and his team progressed to the semi-final stage after finishing the round robin in third with Goldsmith and his crew of James Hayward, Kate Devereux and Lucy Lowe making up the final four.

22-year-old Goldsmith from Hamble-le-Rice progressed to the final after a 3-1 victory against the in-form Wilkinson, while Miller and his crew were made to work hard for their berth in the final against Lymington’s Vose, coming out with a 3-2 victory.

Miller got off to a strong start in the final, taking the first two wins before Goldsmith managed to pull one back, but he couldn’t manage to sustain the momentum with Miller winning the fourth match to claim the weekend victory and a place in the 2014 RYA National Match Racing Series Grand Final (14-16 November). Miller, along with Wilkinson and Vose, was also recently selected to compete for Great Britain at the FISU World University Match Racing Championships this summer.

Miller, 20, a member at West Kirby Sailing Club, commented: “It’s definitely mixed emotions after winning, I’m relieved the windy battles are finally over and delighted with the overall result. This event was a preparation event for next weekend’s BUCS Match Racing and has highlighted a few areas where we need to work on. The main aim for the event was to hone in our pre start skills and general team work and to also to have a good tussle with the other FISU GBR selected teams!”

“The final was tough,” expressed Miller. “We previously had a five race semifinal with Annabel [Vose] which we went 2-0 down at the start and fought back to 3-2, and in the windy conditions we were all pretty knackered! Sailing against the heaviest team in the final wasn't easy either and meant a little bit more motivation to hike hard was required!”

Miller concluded: “I was very happy with my crew over the weekend, we sailed the boat physically at times which I thought paid off. Mike was calling the right tactics upwind which helped us make gains and Tom our new bowman with little experience played a blinder in 22 Knots plus! I’m now back to Loughborough for two days recovery and then back down to windy Weymouth for the BUCS Match Racing Finals.”

This weekend (28-30 March) will see 14 teams compete at the BUCS/BUSA Match Racing Championships at WPNSA, an event which also forms part of the 2014 RYA National Match Racing Series.

RYA Winter National Match Racing (22-23 March) final results:

1: Connor Miller; Mike Matthews, Tom Neilson.
2: William Goldsmith; James Hayward, Kate Devereux, Lucy Lowe.
3: Nick Wilkinson; Robbie Hooper, Fred Brown.
4: Annabel Vose; Emily Nagel, Hannah Peters, Amy Prime.
5: Tom Harrison; Jamie Diamond, Jonty Cook.
6: Bruno Van Dyke; Rob Bunce, Andy Lis.
7: Andrew Wishart; Joe Simmons, Joe Stansfield.
8: Matt Goacher; Sam Edom, Katie Dewing.

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