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RYA Volvo Welsh Zone Championships at New Quay Yacht Club

by Hamish Stuart, RYA Wales 8 Oct 2012 18:26 BST 29-30 September 2012
North Wales sailor Hatty Morsley at the Volvo Welsh Zone Championships held in New Quay © Hamish Stuart

North Wales sailor Hatty Morsley beat the boys again to prove herself one of the top up and coming sailors at the RYA Volvo Welsh Zone Championships held in New Quay.

This victory topped off a remarkable season for the Port Dinorwic sailor in which she has also won the Volvo Welsh Youths and the Welsh Schools titles.

Consistency was the key as she only won one of the seven races outright, but she finished second four times along with a third place to pip Cardiff Bay's William Hall by three points into a tighly fought contest. Hall won the final race, but Morsley got one of her second places to stay ahead.

That was the highlight, but there was plenty of North Wales success with Pwllheli's Chloe Butterworth finishing as the top girl and third overall in the main Topper fleet.

Pwllheli's Rowan Edwards and Daniel Blight were first in the general handicap, while clubmates Josh and Jake Davies were first Youths in that section. Bala's Aled Goddard was third.

Clwywedog's Grace Barton was first in the general handicap regatta fleet in a Tera boat.

The zone championships are a key event for any young sailors looking to get into the British squads and also the start of the pathway to Olympics sailing.

A record breaking 1,200 young sailors took part in zone championship events around the UK, with 115 boats taking to the water in New Quay for the Welsh event.

Team Volvo sailor Niki Birrell was at the event to encourage the young sailors and hand out the prizes to those who represent some of the best young talent in Wales, hoping one day to emulate the success of Birrell and Olympic silver medallist Hannah Mills.

Birrell won bronze at the London Paralympics in the Skud 18 class along with Alexandra Rickham and lives near Weymouth, though he comes from Manchester. He was a European junior champion before switching to the Paralympic classes.

RYA hig performance manager for Wales, Sarah Williams said, "Special congratulations to Hatty Morsley, she capped a fine season in style.

"The conditions were absolutely fantastic. New Quay offered an element that most sailors do not get to sail in and that was a huge swell and most sailors (that were not sea sick) came off the water with huge grins as they had never been so fast or surfed for so long on a wave.

"Team Volvo Sailor Niki Birrell was down with us for the weekend and went out on the water with the main fleet.

"Niki got awarded the "Recognition in Optimist Sailing Award" when he jumped in a struggling regatta fleet sailor's oppie and sailed ashore with her.

"Niki also brought his Paralympic Bronze Medal with him for the sailors to see and to take photos and signed a lot of autographs as well as handing out prizes in the prize giving.

"The sailors were all extremely excited and inspired thank you to Volvo for sending him for the weekend.

"Congratulations to all the winners who performed to a high standard and were tested to the extreme."

Overall Results:

Optimist Main Fleet
1st and 1st Girl- Hatty Morsley (PDSC)
2nd -William Hall (CBYC)
3rd -Rhys Lewis (CBYC)

Topper Main Fleet
1st - Harri Pain (CBYC)
2nd - Tobias Shapton (Mumbles)
3rd and 1st Girl - Chloe Butterworth (Pwllheli SC)

General Handicap
1st Youth - Josh and Jake Davies, 29er (Pwllheli SC)
1st Girls - Daneille Rowe and Rachel Tilley, 29er (Llandegfedd SC)
1st - Rowan Edwards and Daniel Blight, 29er (PDSC)
2nd Frankie Dickens, Laser Radial (Mumbles)
3rd Aled Goddard, Laser Radial (Bala SC)

Optimist Regatta Fleet
1st and 1st Girl - Madeline Leary (Mumbles)
2nd - Rhianwen Williams (CBYC)
3rd -Ethan Kneale (CBYC)

Topper Regatta Fleet
1st - Ed Pickett (Fishguard)
2nd - Max Falmer (Llangorse)
3rd - Theo Falmer (Llangorse)
1st Girl - Izzie Millar (Llandegfedd)

General Handicap Regatta fleet
1st - Grace Barton, Tera (Clywedog SC)

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