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Youth Laser Regatta at the Royal Lymington Yacht Club

by Fiona Fry on 28 Jun 24-25 June 2017
Abby Childerley and Eve Kennedy (Parkstone YC) enjoying the challenge during the Royal Lymington Yacht Club Youth Laser Open © Christine Spreiter

Organisers of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club Youth Laser Open meeting were rewarded by superb sailing conditions for the 67 sailors competing over the past weekend. Some sailors had travelled to the Solent from as far as Scotland, the North and the East of England. The aim of the regatta was to get the sailors back on the water, racing on Championship courses, straight after the exam season.

The sailors were welcomed to the event with message of good luck from two of RLymYC's most illustrious members, Sir Ben Ainslie and Nick Thompson. International Race Office Peter Saxton ran an efficient race team, whilst International Juror John Doerr ran an experienced Jury and Protest panel. The event was extremely grateful to the title sponsors, Neil Pryde Sailing and Harken, who donated very generous prizes.

The aim was to provide a fun event for the sailors, as well as a professional racing experience. Much fun was had by all at the family BBQ on Saturday night, with very hungry sailors and hard working parents being treated to a first class dinner. Each morning, competitors, volunteers and parents were met with piping hot bacon rolls and coffee. New Forest Ice Creams were given to each sailor when they tallied after each day's racing. A raffle was held in aid of the RNLI which raised a fantastic £80. First prize, of a day of coaching with one of the club's top Laser coaches, went to Ellie Huthcings (Paignton SC) and second prize, of a Land Rover BAR poster signed by the BAR America's Cup team, went to Charlie South (Stokes Bay SC).

On the race course, winds were steady at around 240 and 20-22 knots, with only the occasional gust over 25 knots. The big variable was the tide in West Solent. On day 1, all 3 races saw wind over tide; on day 2 the first two races had wind and tide together, before it switched back to wavy wind against tide for the final race. The 3 fleets (4.7, Radial and Standard) raced on trapezoid courses; the inner loop somewhat protected by Hurst Castle, but the outer loop seeing significant waves. The conditions required the boats and equipment to be race prepared and the sailors fit and strong! Despite faultless race management, mark 2 managed to escape during the last race on Sunday, heading off to Hurst Castle before being brought back under control. As a result, race 6 for the Radials and Standards had to be abandoned, with the Radials already well into the second beat. Exhausted sailors lined up for a restart, at which point the Committee boat registered a gust of 32 knots. They all impressively made it around again, arriving back in the boat park on their last legs!

The Laser 4.7s attracted the largest entry (35 entries), with so many sailors preparing for the World Championships in a few weeks' time. The front of the fleet saw great competition between Royal Lymington's Matilda Nicholls (returning temporarily to the 4.7 from the Radial, ahead of the 4.7 Worlds), Matt Beck (Bowmoor SC) and Nick Wellbourn (Hykeham SC). Matilda took the overall win, with Matt taking 2nd on count back from Nick in 3rd. Alex Schonrock (Parkstone YC) was 4th, 2nd girl and 1st U16 girl and Royal Lymington's Tom Mitchell rounded out the top 5 as 3rd boy and 1st U16 boy. The battle for 3rd girl went to Abby Childerley (Royal Southern YC/RORC). The award for the youngest sailor went to Iona Cole (Spinnaker SC) and the prize for the sailor who had the highest points, but battled on to complete all races, went to Jack Oswald (Gurnard SC). A number of the 4.7s were new to Laser sailing and appeared to relish the experience. Most notable was Optimist sailor James Foster, who at 50kgs only collected his Laser a week earlier, yet came 10th overall.

The Radial fleet saw a battle royal evolve between 2 boats who shared 1st and 2nd in 5 of the 6 races. There was a tie on final points, the break being decided by the final race result, with Royal Lymington's Milo Gill-Taylor edging Jordan Giles (Datchet Water SC) to take the win overall. 3rd to 6th had an equally close contest, with Jake Bowhay (Stokes Bay SC) narrowly taking 3rd from Royal Lymington's Arthur Fry, who was 1st U17 boy. Paignton SC's Ellie Hutchings was 1st girl, ahead of Paige Caldecoat (visiting from Australia) and Ellie Poole (also Paignton SC and 1st U17 girl). Youngest sailor, at just 13 years of age, was Charlie South (Stokes Bay SC) and the Endeavour prize went to Christine Wood (CCCDS).

The Standard Fleet had a lot to deal with, the biggest rig making it extremely physical for the young sailors. 16 year old Joseph Drake (RNSYC), in his first event in the Standard, and David Saunders (Stokes Bay SC) batted it out for 1st place, with Jo narrowly taking the win and 1st U19. Royal Lymington's Robbie Boyd was an impressive 3rd.

Ashore the Commodore congratulated the sailors on their efforts in completing 6 races. The Race Team and Jury were thanked and praised by the competitors, and the busy safety team, led by Alastair Beardsall, were also thanked for their hard work. Juror John Doerr said "Clearly this event attracted a wide range of sailors and the challenging conditions gave an opportunity for the more experienced to shine. However the talent displayed was awesome and holds well for the future of British Olympic sailing. I am a fervent believer that sailing offers young people an opportunity to develop skills that will help them in life, way beyond sailing. It was a pleasure to see those skills on display and i hope that I can be part of a similar event in the future.'' Race Office Peter Saxton said "It's great to see youth sailors enjoying racing when the going gets tough - having good safety cover meant that we could continue racing in challenging conditions, which would have sent many fleets ashore. The competitors coped impressively well, gaining valuable experience whatever the level of skill. The organisational support from the club, parent organisers and jury made it a very enjoyable event."

Thanks go once again to our fantastic sponsors. Winners received Neil Pryde Elite Matrix Long Johns and Harken McLube, with category winners receiving Neil Pryde Elite buoyancy vests and Harken sailing bags. Runners up received an array of prizes, including Neil Pryde Elite gloves and Harken document wallets and water bottles.

We wish all the Laser sailors heading to major international regattas this summer the best of luck. Sailors will be competing in the Laser 4.7 Worlds and U21 Worlds in Nieuwpoort, Belgium and the Youth Laser Radial Euros in Gdynia and the Youth Laser Radial Worlds in Medemblik, Holland.

Many sailors have told us that this was one of the best Laser events they have attended and so plans are underway for another Youth Laser event at RLymYC later this year.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelm NameClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
Laser 4.7 Fleet
1st207299Matilda NichollsRLymYC4111(DNF)310
2nd209997Matt BeckBowmoor SC223‑53111
3rd209415Nick WelbournHykeham SC13232‑511
4th203009Alex SchonrockParkstone YC3‑5541215
5th211928Tom MitchellRLymYC(DSQ)4676730
6th207802Thomas ParkhurstBeaver SC(DSQ)64851134
7th209000Finley DickinsonHISC699‑137637
8th198313Abby ChilderleyRSYC/RORC981169‑1543
9th201697Flo NichollsRLymYC5‑10101010944
10th212907James FosterPoole YC‑1611121112854
11th186027Drew BarnesRLymYC7‑151415131059
12th189183Sam de la FeuilladeRLymYC81481415‑1859
13th206298Ollie SturleyParkstone YC‑13121312111361
14th200646Eve KennedyParkstone YC‑191918981266
15th207010Abigale ClarkeRLymYC12‑181516141471
16th210403Frances FoxHISC(DNC)DNCDNC24482
17th206488Charlotte RockettBarnt Green SC1513‑2019181782
18th210917Joshua ThomasDatchet SC11‑242117162085
19th208711Isabella DrewittRLymYC2117161817(DNC)89
20th209984Duncan EvansNQYC/MYC10161728DNF(DNC)98
21st184134Elizabeth BeardsellRLymYC1477(DNC)DNCDNC100
22nd205649Oliver EvansGurnard SC(DNS)2119252116102
23rd184970Jack OswoldGurnard SC22‑2623221921107
24th208186Arthur FarleyRVYC/GSC20‑25DNF212022107
25th190567Alex ColeSpinnaker SC1722DNF‑262323109
26th204728Ben SalvaBury Lake Young Mariners(UFD)2322232519112
27th210232Oliver PerkinsPapercourt1820DNF(DNC)DNCDNC134
28th207647Tom DawsonPwllheli SC(DNC)DNCDNC2722UFD148
29th189660Sam SchofieldSpinnaker SC(DNC)DNCDNC2926UFD154
30th189083Georgie AlthamHunts SC(DNC)DNCDNC2424DNC156
31st19691Luca GuyonStarcross YC(DNC)DNCDNCDNFDNFUFD156
32nd210233Theo GumbleyWeir Wood SC23DNF(DNC)DNCDNCDNC158
33rd190545Ted WardRLymYC(DNC)DNCDNC20DNCDNC164
34th198317Sophie StoateRLymYCUFD(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC172
35th186111Iona ColeSpinnaker SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC180
Laser Radial Fleet
1st211870Milo Gill‑ TaylorRLymYC2‑312117
2nd210560Jordan GilesDatchet Water SC11‑21227
3rd209977Jake BowhayStokes Bay SC354‑86321
4th212077Arthur FryRLymYC4436‑7623
5th209133George Ford 5257‑8524
6th204125Douglas CalderBurghfield‑77734425
7th208650Henry BeardsallRLymYC612611‑15843
8th198310Ellie HutchingsPaignton SC8610129(UFD)45
9th181426Scott ParkerParkstone YC11119‑1412952
10th209980Charlie SouthStokes Bay SC1091413‑161157
11th211511Paige CaldecoatB16SC/SLMASC‑15101215111260
12th208715Sam DavisPoole YC‑1616169101566
13th210618Will BedfordSpinnaker/Parkstone(DNC)DNCDNC53767
14th206839Eleanor PoolePaignton SC128111720(DNC)68
15th211256Christine WoodCCCDS9151319‑211470
16th191236Thomas BryantCam SC(DNC)1381017DNC74
17th134711Paul Moughtin‑LeayStaunton Harold SC1418(DNC)18191382
18th198951Arthurt ConnollyRLymYC1314152123(DNC)86
19th206782Krishan BhogalGrafham Water SC(DNC)DNCDNC45DNC87
20th185731Luke BeuvinkCorinthian Otters1717(DNC)16221688
21st197705Molly SackerBurnham Over Staithe SC(DNC)DNCDNC221810102
22nd210000Emma CraneHISC18(DNC)DNC2013DNC103
23rd186371Christian WakefieldParkstone YCUFD(DNC)DNCRET14UFD104
24th194412George SmithRLymYC(DNC)DNC172324DNC116
25th212074Piers LuxfordGWSC & RHYC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC130
Laser Standard Fleet
1st212660Joseph DrakeRNSYC11‑31227
2nd201175David SaundersStokes Bay SC2‑413118
3rd207749Robby BoydRLymYC & LTSC‑32223312
4th208853Jack ActonChristchurch SC(DNC)DNCDNC44DNF28
5th205712Ben ChilderleyRORC/RSYC43(DNC)DNCDNCDNC31
6th205791Dan NewallStarcross YC(DNC)DNCDNC5DNFDNC34
7th209960Daniel JonesStokes Bay SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC40

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