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South East Zone triumphant at RYA Eric Twiname Championships

by Anisha Walkerley 7 May 22:16 BST 6-7 May 2017

The South East Zone were victorious at the 2017 RYA 31st Eric Twiname Championships (6-7 May). Having last reigned triumphant in 2014, the South East Zone were crowned overall Eric Twiname Champions as well as winners of the Eric Twiname Dinghy Trophy after finishing first zone in the Optimist and Topper classes.

Finishing as top zone in the 4.5m and 5.8m fleet, the Midlands picked up the coveted windsurfing trophy.

After a full day of racing on day one, day two matched the proceedings with all classes launching on time to complete a full event schedule. A 5-10-knot breeze was recorded across Rutland Water as the 270 Zone and Home Country sailors battled it out for individual and team honours.

Topper

The Topper fleet once again saw three winners in the each of the day's races. As the only sailor to take two bullets across the weekend, Ethan Kneale (Cardiff Bay, Wales) jumped to the top of the leaderboard and secured the Topper crown.

Kneale described the racing: "I've found it challenging, but I enjoyed winning! It was close racing, I didn't know if I could do it."

"It's a relief to have won and I'm very happy," declared a relieved Kneale.

James Deaton (IBRSC/RHYC, SE) posted 2,1,15 to wrap up his regatta second ahead of teammate Leo Wilkinson (Maidenhead SC, SE). The South East proved they were the team to beat as Yana Skvortsova (Datchet Water SC, SE) was triumphant in the girls' fleet after finishing fourth overall.

Optimist

With the Optimist field still wide open going into the second day of racing, several boats had the Championship title within their grasp.

Iolo Davis (Pembrokeshire YC, Wales) was uncatchable in the penultimate race after building a substantial lead leaving his rivals in the dust, but after a challenging last race he was pipped to the post and ended his day as the runner-up.

After adding two bullets to his scoreline, Henry Means (HSC/NBYC, E) was crowned Optimist Champion beating his 74 zone rivals.

Means explained: "It's been good to race against other zone sailors. I didn't really expect to win, I was coming for the experience.

"I had a challenge to be top 20 or 30, but I came out and smashed it!" declared a victorious Means.

First day leader Henry Keegan slipped to third to take the bronze medal. Arwen Fflur (Pwllheli SC, Wales) consolidated her position to top the girls' podium and finished 10th overall.

Feva

Alice Davis and Olivia Bracey-Davis (GMSC/HISC, S) delivered a masterclass in the Feva fleet as they read the racecourse with ease to secure another three bullets.

The pair ended their regatta with an enviable 1,1,6,1,1,1 scoreline as they controlled the Feva fleet from the go: "It was brilliant to have won five of the six races!"

Davis continued: "It was tricky and quite shifty out there."

"We're feeling really happy," smiled the pair who have been crowned 2017 Feva Eric Twiname Champions.

Ching Wong and Elinor Oleary (Island Barn, SE) and George Alexander and Ruari McColl (Salcombe, SW) finished second and third respectively in the 24-boat fleet.

Techno

With five firsts to her name, Caitlin Boothroyd (West Kirby, N) convincingly wrapped up her regatta as 4.5m champion. Daisy Illingworth (Oxford SC, S) and Rebecca Hall (Glossop SC) finished second and third respectively.

One of most consistent performances of the weekend goes to 5.8m windsurfer Charlie Bennett (North Lincs, M) winning six of the seven races. Guy Owen (BCYC, SW), the only sailor to dent Bennett's otherwise perfect scoreline, finished second ahead of Dominic Harrision (North Lincs, M). Topping the girl's podium was Maya Kersey (Queen Mary, SE) in ninth overall ahead of Paige Kay (Hollingworth, N) and Lydia Ashley (Glossop, M).

The Techno 6.8m podium was a three-way battle as Zack Chandler (Alton Water, E), Lewis Limm (OTC, SW) and Ellie Wilcox (OTC, SW) shared the races wins between them. It was Chandler's consistency which edged him to glory and see off his rivals. Wilcox finished second overall and first girl, whilst teammate Limm was forced to settle for third on tiebreak.

Billy Ellis (Covenham, N) stormed to victory in the 24-board Techno 7.8 fleet having led from the outset. It was a close fought affair for second place coming down to the final race but it was Tom Cunningham (Bewl, SE) who played the shifts to his advantage to post a consistent 3,5,5 to secure silver. James Faley (OTC, SW) completes the top three meanwhile Zoe Davis was crowned girl's champion, one-point ahead of Zara Horton (Poole, SW).

The second and conclusive event of the selection process for the 2017 RYA Laser 4.7 UK Junior Summer Squad took place alongside the Championships with spots up for grabs for summer internationals and training. Shifty conditions challenged the fleet, but Oliver Perkins' consistency saw him triumph ahead of Gordon Cogan Sivarajan and Matt Beck. Alex Schonrock crossed the line second in the final race of event to see her finish as first girl and 10th overall.

Event Director and RYA Senior High Performance Manager, Chris Atherton, was pleased with a successful event: "We have had a fantastic weekend of sailing across all of the courses. The conditions were challenging at times, with shifts testing the sailors but it's been a brilliant atmosphere afloat and ashore all.

"I have been really impressed with the young sailors this weekend, their attitudes have been fantastic and the standard of racing across the seven junior classes has been superb. It is great to see new sailors coming through the Zone Pathway and competing at an event like this for the first time.

"This event would not be possible without the support of the Eric Twiname Trust. Rutland Sailing Club has once again put on a brilliant event and I would like to thank everyone who helped the event to run so smoothly."

Full results online here.

More about the Eric Twiname Trust www.erictwinametrust.org and to donate www.justgiving.com/erictwinametrust.

You can follow the action on the event website, the British Youth Sailing Team Facebook and on Twitter @RYAYouthRacing.