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RYA Youth National Championships at Hayling Island Sailing Club - Overall

by Anisha Walkerley on 14 Apr 10-14 April 2017

After five days of challenging racing at the 2017 RYA Youth Nationals, champions have been crowned across 12 classes. The 379 sailors were tested in an array conditions on the waters of Hayling Island, with all except the 29er silver fleet completing a full series.

There were outstanding performances in all classes, some Championships won with a race, or even a day, to spare whilst others came down the wire.

Laser

The three-way tussle between Podium Potential Pathway teammates Daniel Whiteley, Jack Cookson and

Sam Whaley went down to wire with places changing race-by-race.

It was last year's Radial bronze medallist, Daniel Whiteley, who overcame his rivals to take event honours finishing three points ahead of Jack Cookson. Sam Whaley finished second in the final race of the event to wrap up his regatta in third.

Whiteley described his rollercoaster week: "It's been a really closely fought battle all week, to come away with a win is a dream come true.

"I always thought I would be able to do it, it got a bit close at the end but I managed to come through and to win is just great," he concluded.

In the girls' Radial, Chloe Barr (Stoke Bay SC) stayed focus and consistent as she held on to the top spot to take gold.

Commenting on her event, Barr said: "It's awesome to have won, it's been a difficult week and it's been very close right up to end.

"Getting two big scores at the beginning of the week meant I've had a bit of a job on over the last two days," said Barr. "I was waiting for the wind to pick up today, so when it did in the second race I knew I could probably win."

Daisy Collingridge (Waldringfield SC), won the under-19 title and finished third overall, whilst Clementine Thompson ended third after taking the final bullet.

Starting the day with a 20-point cushion, Ben Whaley (Swanage SC) knew two solid results would be enough to take the boys' Radial crown, but rather than rest on his laurels, Whaley demonstrated exactly why he deserved to win ending his event in style with two bullets. In doing so, Whaley completed his regatta an impressive 28 points ahead.

Whaley, who opened his week with a black flag, did not let that lower is confidence and came back fighting: "It was a tricky day, but I felt positive about my good results and I think the negatives got me into the event and I pulled it through from there"

"After a couple of disappointments last year to have come back fighting feels really good."

Arthur Brown (Royal Burnham YC) held his nerve to hold on to second place from Jordan Giles (Datchet Water SC) who took bronze.

420

Dominating the 420 fleet from the outset and securing gold with a day to spare, Alex Smallwood (Datchet Water SC) and Ross Thompson were the runaway winners.

For Smallwood, this is a second Youth Nationals title: "It feels really good to win the Youth Nationals again, it's been a pretty challenging week and we've worked really hard for it."

Thompson continued: "I really enjoyed the mix of conditions and the one really windy day, which was good fun. It's made for really good competition."

After a slow start to week, Rhys Lewis (Cardiff Bay YC) and Drew Wright came into their own as they worked their way up the fleet in finish as second boys and third overall. Tom Collyer (Aldenham SC) and Aaron Chadwick took the boys' bronze medal.

Isabel Davies and Gemma Keers (Itchenor SC) proved that experience counts as they are once again crowned Youth Nationals champions after finishing first girls and second overall for a consecutive year.

Davies was thrilled to have retained their title: "It's really good, exciting times. It's been a really fun week with really good racing"

Keers added: "It was tough competition today, with some tricky conditions and hard work."

It was a closely fought battle for silver coming down the final race as Katie Davies and Midge Watkins (Itchenor SC) edged two-points ahead of their rivals. Hatty Morsley and Pippa Cropley (Royal Lymington YC) take bronze for the second year running.

Catamaran Handicap

A superb week for William Smith (Grafham Water SC) and Abigail Clarke saw them go into the final racing all but guaranteed a medal. Posting a 4,3 in the final races secured the pair gold in their first Youth Nationals together.

The pair came to event hoping to medal, but exceeded all their expectations, explained Smith: "I didn't think we were going to be able to do it before the event, I was hoping for the podium but to get a win is great!"

Silver went to Caleb Cooper (Worthing SC) and Tristan Payne, whilst Theo Williams (Restronguet) and 2016 medallist Will Heritage settle for bronze.

29er

The 29er fleet provided an intense battle all week with several boats starting the day's proceedings with sights set on gold, but in the end the regatta win went to James Eales (HISC) and James Hammett (RYLC). Despite qualifying on top, the pair were challenged on the first day of gold fleet racing before pulling it back to take the 29er boys' crown.

Hammett described the week of tight racing: "I think we sailed a really good regatta, consistent every day so it feels really good.

"It was really tough and everyone sailed really well but we managed to stay consistent and stay in front of everyone else," he added.

Following a U-flag (starting penalty) in the final race, Nick Robins (HISC) and Billy Vennis-Ozanne (Stokes Bay SC) had to settle for second, whilst international competition came in the form of Irish duo Harry Durcan and Harry Whitaker who finished third. Ellie Walton (Draycote Water SC) and Dan Budden, posting a third in the last race, ended fourth overall and third British boat in the open fleet.

It was an agonising wait for Bella Fellows (Yealm YC) and Anna Sturrock (Loch Tummel SC) as they crossed the line not knowing whether they had done enough to take the girls' title, but as results came through on the sail in, their title was confirmed.

An elated, but surprised Fellows said: "It feels really good to have won, we didn't really expect it but really happy."

Sturrock continued: "It feels amazing to have won. It's been great to meet up with everyone and have some good racing".

After an impressive opening series, Freya Black (HISC) and Orla Mitchell took silver ahead of Courtney Bilbrough (HISC) and Hanna Brand, adding to home club's success.

RS:X

Windsurfer Andy Brown (WPNSA/Largs) stole the show not only in the RS:X fleet but also in the championship, counting an unprecedented 12-bullets to end his week with the lowest possible points. This gives Brown, who been training with the Podium Potential Pathway squad, his second Youth Nationals title as he proved unstoppable all week.

"It feels fantastic to have won again. I knew yesterday I had done it so it's been great fun today with no pressure at all," explained Brown.

"It's been challenging and I've been pushed by everyone at points but it's been great," he said. "I've learnt a lot from it, so it's been a good week."

The battle for the lower podium spots continued up until the last race, but it was Josh Carey (WPNSA) who ended his regatta with silver and bronze for Isaac Lines (Toward SC).

It was a second gold for Scottish windsurfers as Erin Watson (Loch Insh) took the girls' title. Wrapping up her regatta with a 2,3 Watson finished fifth overall in the RS:X fleet. Lily Young (WPNSA) took silver for the second year running and Islay Watson finished third girl.

After crossing the line and securing her title, Watson smiled: "It was a really good event and I'm really happy with how it went. It's been light winds most of the time which are my sort of conditions, but we've also had a range with new conditions to work in which has been really fun."

At the first Youth Nationals for the Techno fleet, Finn Hawkins (Porthpean SC) took the regatta win after taking two bullets on the final day of racinf. The podium was completed by James Bulson (Croft Farm) in second and Ethan Moody (Oxford SC) third.

Hawkins described a tricky last race: "It was a good but hard last two races, especially with the tide downwind.

"It feels great to have won. The whole event has been a really good experience and a great vibe," he continued.

Izzy Adcock (WPNSA) dominated the girls' fleet from the go to walk away with the win and fourth overall.

Adcock, relieved to have taken event honours, said: "It's a relief to have finished after a good but tiring week."

Emily-Jane Eldred (Queen Mary SC) pipped Zoe Bassett (Bristol Corinthian YC) to silver by a mere one-point to complete the girls' podium.

Mark Nicholls, Event Director, said: "It's been an absolutely fantastic week at Hayling Island.

"The club and the volunteers are outstanding and have really supported a wonderful event.

"The weather has cooperated and the standard of sailing has been the highest I think I've ever seen. It's been a brilliant event.

"I look forward to welcoming you all to Largs next year."

Full results online here.

For further information please visit the RYA Youth National Championships website, British Youth Sailing Facebook page, on Twitter at @RYAyouthracing and on Instagram @britishyouthsailing. Share your comments with us using #RYAYouths.

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