Photos © Paul Wyeth / RYA
A full day at the races as the battle of the RYA Zones kicks off in style
A staggering 800 young sailors took to the waters today across nine venues throughout the United Kingdom for the opening day of the 2011 RYA Volvo Zone and Home Country Championships (Saturday 24 September).
All Zones were given varied weather conditions which allowed for the full schedule of races to take place. With strong winds, huge swells and massive shifts, sailors from across the UK had a variety of conditions to compete in. Races were completed across all classes and provided the RYA High Performance Managers with some food for thought as the level of racing from all sailors was excellent.
The Championships traditionally mark the end of the Junior racing season and are a key event for any young sailor wishing to be selected for the RYA Volvo Zone and Home Country squads, which are the first step on the pathway to Olympic Classes sailing.
The Junior sailors had the chance to showcase their talents in front of recently selected Skandia Team GBR and Team Volvo for Life 2012 Olympians. 470 sailor Saskia Clark visited the South Zone, top British RS:X Windsurfer Nick Dempsey was at the East Zone, Paralympian Helena Lucas appeared at the South East Zone, Hannah Mills visited the West Zone and the South West Zone welcomed Match Racer, Kate Macgregor.
Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, commented: “Today has been a testing day for the sailors, it has certainly offered some excellent learning opportunities and it has been a delight to see the sailors making the best of all the opportunities afloat and ashore. All the sailors had some great tips and observations from top coaches, RYA staff and in many cases excitingly recently selected Team GB sailors for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Truswell concluded: “It’s been a great start to what I am sure will be a cracking weekend. It’s nice for me to be back at the North Zone and it’s great to see that the sailors are as passionate as I always was to improve and progress to the GBR programmes.”
RYA Volvo South Zone Championship (Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy, Dorset)
Some 261 sailors from the South coast enjoyed glorious sunshine along with some good breeze in what was a great first day of racing at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. The Junior sailors enjoyed gusts of up to 10 knots while battling it out against their peers within their RYA Zone. All three of the scheduled races were completed across all classes concluding what was a great first day of racing.
To add to the excitement, the aspiring young stars of the future were joined by Skandia Team GBR and Team Volvo for Life sailor Saskia Clark. The recently selected 2012 Team GB sailor spoke to the young sailors about her sailing career and described how it felt to be selected for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Sailors were also given the chance to impress as the Skandia Team GBR sailor took to the water to give tips and advice on the racing she watched.
After spending the day out on the water, the 2012 Olympian said: “It has been a fantastic days racing. I have been so surprised by the standard of racing from across all classes. There were some tricky conditions at times with some big shifts in wind but they all did really well.”
“The event is a great chance for the sailors to really experience what it’s all about when racing in big fleets. It’s so pleasing to see everyone enjoying themselves as this is where it all starts. I have no doubt in my mind that some of the sailors who I have seen today will one day be racing at the highest level and hopefully one day be competing at the Olympic Games,” concluded Clark.
1st: Ross Mcfarlane
2nd: Geoffrey Sherwood
3rd: Elizabeth Sherwood
1st: Sarah Jarman
2nd: Milo Gill-Taylor
3rd: Vita Heathcote
1st: Rosie Watkins
2nd: Joanna Kalderon
3rd: Isabel Davies
1st: Alastair Wallace
2nd: Ben Shorrock
3rd: Aliya Jannaty
1st: Matthew Whitfield
2nd: Georgia Booth
3rd: Hamish Eckstein
1st: Elliott Wells
2nd: James Eales
3rd: James Smith
4.5 Open Class
1st: Chay Tudberry
2nd: Ben Tweedle
3rd: Emma Ashman
5.8 Open Class
1st: Georgina Savage
2nd: Joshua Croft
3rd: Jack Bassett
1st: James Hatcher
2nd: Ross Warren
3rd: Alice Read
1st: Daniel Wilson
2nd: Emma Wilson
3rd: Rachel Horton
RYA Volvo South West Zone Championship (Restronguet Sailing Club, Cornwall)
The RYA Volvo South West Zone Championships got off to the flyer today at Restronguet Sailing Club as the young sailors completed five races for both the Optimists and the Toppers. Battling through the wet and windy conditions, the Junior sailors completed three races in the morning and a further two in the afternoon. With 10 -15 knots slowly decreasing throughout the day and with the sun finally breaking though for the young guns on the sail back to shore, racing was of a very high standard.
Once the sailors had returned to shore, Skandia Team GBR and Volvo for Life sailor Kate McGregor was there to give advice and talk to the sailors about her Olympic campaign.
McGregor commented: “It’s been great to see the stars of the future racing at the Zone Championships today. The level or racing has been fantastic and it clear that the future of our sport is most definitely a promising one.”
1st: Benno Marstaller
2nd: Jamie Harris
3rd: Alex Platt
1st: Edward Higson
2nd: Luke Robertson
3rd: Emma Phillips
RYA Volvo South East Zone Championship (Bewl Valley Sailing Club, Kent)
The East Zone enjoyed a cracking day at Bewl Valley Sailing Club completing all three races across all three fleets in 6-9 knots of fairly consistent breeze.
The day was well rounded off with an excellent presentation from Skandia Team GBR and Volvo for Life sailor Helena Lucas. The Paralympian discussed her training regime and sailing career to date and gave an insight into competing at the top of her sport. The sailors also had the chance to quiz Lucas which capped off a fantastic day for the young sailors from the South East.
Lucas commented: “There has been some fantastic, close sailing here today at Bewl Valley, the South East RYA Volvo Zone Championship venue.”
“I’ve really enjoyed being out on the water watching the racing first hand and everyone looked like they were really enjoying the day. The standard of sailing has been incredibly high across all three classes, the Toppers, Feva and Optimist with some top racing.”
1st: Ross Thompson (FPSC/ RLym YC)
2nd: Emma Baker (Weirwood SC)
3rd: Alice Smith (Papercourt SC)
1st: Felix Crowther (Queen Mary SC)
2nd: Nancy Scott (Island Barn SC)
3rd: Hamish Streeter (HISC/ Bewl Valley SC)
1st: Jenny Smallwood/Jamie Webb (Wraysbury Lake SC)
2nd: James Hutton Penman/Thomas Jayasekara (Corinthian Otters SC)
3rd: Chay Taylor Crew Stirling Taylor (Burnham SC
RYA Volvo East Zone Championship (Grafham Water Sailing Club, Cambridgeshire)
With a near on perfect Force 2-3, Grafham Water Sailing Club was greeted with great sailing conditions as sailors from the RYA East Zone completed all three of their scheduled races. Sailors were given a good test of their racing ability with tricky shifts in wind and unexpected gusts throughout the day.
With a full complement of three races sailed, RS:X World Champion and Team Volvo For Life sailor Nick Dempsey enjoyed a fantastic time observing proceedings offering some specially tailored windsurf advice to the young sailors. Along with his wife Sarah Ayton and son Thomas, the recently selected 2012 Team GB sailor enjoyed mingling around the boat park, signing autographs and pinching all of the sailors’ sweets!
Dempsey commented: “I have had a fantastic day at Grafham Sailing Club, supporting the young sailors and giving them some advice. It’s great to be able to be involved with the future generation of top British Sailors. Events like this are so important and a great experience for the sailors. The conditions were gusty and difficult for those at the front and I was very impressed by the level of sailing talent.
1st: Alex Page / Richard Townley (Alton Water Sailing Academy)
2nd: Sam Yale/ Harry Chatterton (Waldringfield)
3rd: Ed Harris/ Fay Chatterton (Waldringfield)
1st Alistair Grant (Alton Water)
2nd Arthur Brown (Royal Burnham YC)
3rd Conor Wey (Dabchicks SC)
1st Joseph Mullan (Priory & Stewartby SC)
2nd Georgia Grice
3rd Emily King (Norfolk Broads YC)
1st Ben Barnwell (Queen Mary)
2nd James Barnewell (Queen Mary)
3rd Hugo Thomas (Queen Mary)
1st Guy Carney (Hythe Hotshots)
2nd Zara Petts (Hythe Hotshots)
3rd Luke Williams (Spray Watersports)
1st Alexie Murphy (Male) (Bray Manic Monkeys)
2nd John T Humphries (Queen Mary)
1st Henry Siefert (Alton Water)
2nd Harriett Hudspith (Norwich Force Eigth)
3rd Rowena Conway (Norwich Force Eigth)
RYA Volvo West Zone Championships (Blithfield Sailing Club, Staffordshire)
It was a full on day at the West Zone Championships with all three races completed in variable southerly winds ranging between 6-12 knots. The racing was extremely competitive with all fleets providing the sailors with the perfect opportunity to impress the RYA high Performance Mangers.
Strong gusts occasionally threw a spanner in the works for some of the sailors at Blithfield Sailing Club, but it was clear to see that the sailors were determined to impress.
In attendance was the recently selected 2012 Team GB member Hannah Mills. The 470 sailor took to the water to urge the young sailors on and to give advice where needed. Once ashore, The Skandia Team GBR and Volvo for Life sailor delivered an inspirational talk to the young sailors on her Olympic selection. She also described her younger days when she too was racing at similar events to the RYA Zone Championships.
Mills said: “I had a great day out on the water at Blithfield SC, it was good to see all the kids getting involved. I’ve been really impressed by the professional attitude today and I thought their starting was amazing.
“It’s great to be involved with the next generation of future Olympians – it wasn’t that long ago I was in their shoes and now I am part of the team going to the 2012 to represent Great Britain.”
1st: Bobby Hewitt (Leigh & Lowton)
2nd: Rory Bush (Shustoke)
3rd: Matthew Leckie (Leigh & Lowton SC)
1st: Chasty James (Redsmere SC)
2nd: Griffiths Haydn (Leigh & Lowton SC)
3rd: Zac Gibbons (Redsmere SC)
1st: Aran Holman (Hollowell SC)
2nd: Will Robinson (Rutland SC)
3rd: Hanna Bristow (Leigh & Lowton SC)
4.5 Open Class
1st: Oliver Eastwood (West Kirby)
2nd: Ollie Mulhall (Windermere)
3rd: Joseph Thampson (Pugney’s Pirates)
5.8 Open Class
1st: Robin McCalister (Hollowell)
2nd: William Mooney (West Kirby)
3rd: Joshua Carey (Pugney’s Pirates)
1st: Sarah Labourbe (North Lincs)
2nd: Alice Butts (Northampton)
3rd: Matthew Carey (Pugney’s Pirates)
1st: Emma Labourne (North Lincs)
2nd: Lewis May (North Linc)
3rd: Rob Griffiths (North Linc)
The RYA Volvo North Zone Championships (Derwent Reservoir, County Durham)
The RYA Volvo North Zone Championships started with a blustery 14 – 18 knots from the SSW, very shifty and gusty but with sunny spells for most of the day. The sailor’s completed one race in the morning before coming ashore for lunch at Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club.
Returning afloat for the final two races the breeze moderated to 10 knots, still gusty and shifty up to around 15 knots in the gusts. Derwent Reservoir is a very high venue and the breeze was funnelling over the hills and in the small valleys to give a shifting and gusty breeze for the sailors to deal with.
Sailors dealt with the shifts in wind well and were required to be tuned into what phase the shift was in, which for young junior sailors, is a very impressive skill to possess. With very large differences in pressure across the race course, sailors made the most of the big opportunities to make gains in the gusts and shifts. With similar conditions forecast for tomorrow, sailors can expect another great day of competitive racing.
1st: Chloe Macauley & Isobel Leroux
2nd: William Hide & Emma Clayton
3rd: Rachel Grayson & George Richardson
1st: Tom Smith
2nd: Ben Settle
3rd: Chloe Felton (equal points with Aidan Rigby)
1st: Ellie Brown
2nd: Joe Henderson
3rd: Sophie Otter
RYA Volvo Welsh Zone and Home Country Championship (Pwllheli Sailing Club, Gwynedd)
The 148 Welsh sailors kicked of their Zone Championships in style this morning as they had to battle against the strongest winds of all nine venues. With 20 knots and huge swell the Optimists and Toppers were first to be launched at 11a.m.
By 12.30 the 20 knot gales soon turned into a safer environment of around 14 knots giving perfect conditions as all sailors took to the water of Pwllheli Sailing Club. The wind continued to die which made for a perfect days racing for you youngsters who enjoyed four good, highly competitive races.
1st: Aled Goddard
2nd: James Tilley
3rd: Frankie Dickens
1st: Sam Thomas
2nd: Hugh Edwards
3rd: William Hall
RYANI Volvo Youth Championships in association with McCready Sailboats (Strangford Lough Yacht Club, Co. Down)
With an entry of 115 boats across 6 fleets, this was a record year for the RYA NI Volvo Youth Championships. The day started with strong winds which abated to a nice 10-14 knots on average with the sun shining.
Four races were sailed in relatively tricky conditions which saw a number of course changes for Race Officer, Richard Doig.
Robbie Gilmore in the Radials and Ellen McCarlie are standout overnight leaders with 4 race wins. Scores are much tighter in the other fleets with a day to go, in particular the Topper fleet, where Liam Glynn currently sits ahead of Conor O’Farrell on a tie breaker. All to play for tomorrow final day of racing with a fresher looking forecast.
1st: Ellen McCarlie
2nd: Timothy Boomer
3rd: Fouad Ghareeb
1st: Liam Glynn
2nd: Conor O’Farrell
3rd: Sam Wilkinson
1st: Eoin Curran
2nd: Laura Gilmore
3rd: Craig Campbell
1st: Robbie Gilmore
2nd: Peter Cameron
3rd: Ryan Glynn
1st: Henry McLaughlin
2nd: Oisin McClelland
3rd: Michael Molloy
1st: Grace Clark
RYA Scotland Volvo Zone and Home Counties Championship (Largs Sailing Club, Largs)
The Largs Channel bathed in glorious sunshine today as the sailors raced in perfect sailing conditions with 10 knots of wind. Three races were completed in all classes allowing for the Scottish stars to really shine and show what there made of. With three glorious back to back races at Largs Sailing Club, racing was extremly close and is now poised for a grand finale in tomorrow’s final day of racing.
1st: Jamie Calder (Loch Tummel SC / Royal Forth YC)
2nd: Hamish Taylor (Clyde Cruising Club)
3rd: Fiona Mackay (Toward SC)
1st: Aaron Murray (Loch Earn SC)
2nd: Lewis Marr (Largs SC)
3rd: Ryan Macintyre
1st: Sophie Thomson/Zoe Dupuy (Solway YC)
2nd: Katie Munro/ Beth Hurst (RFYC & FMBC)
3rd: Struan Donaldson
For further information regarding the 2011 RYA Volvo Zone and Home Country Championships please visit www.ryaracingevents.org.uk