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Ones to watch at the 2018 RYA Youth National Championships: Part 1

by RYA 23 Mar 2018 06:15 GMT 30 March - 6 April 2018
Daisy Collingridge © Paul Wyeth / RYA

With the 2018 RYA Youth National Championships in Largs, Scotland, just over week away, sailors from across the country are gearing up to take a tilt at the eight titles on offer.

The UK's premier youth sailing event will welcome 243 sailors to the Scottish sailing hot spot from 30 March to 6 April, returning to the venue of the 2013 edition.

And the action will take place in front of royalty with Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal confirmed to attend on Thursday 5 April.

World champions, returning Youth Nationals winners and first timers will be among the entries as well as a host of sailors getting their first taste of Youth Nationals action. There is even an equipment debut with the Nacra 15 multihull racing in a dedicated fleet for the first time.

In the first of a two-part series, here's a guide to the ones to watch across the five dinghy classes.

Laser Radial girls

The 19-boat Radial girls fleet at the Largs Youth Nationals is jam packed full of top quality sailors.

Daisy Collingridge (Waldringfield) took the U19 Youth Nationals title last year and represented Great Britain at the 2017 Youth Worlds in Sanya, China, bringing home a bronze medal in a stellar showing.

The U21 title that Collingridge will now fight for in Largs is held by Chloe Barr (Stokes Bay SC) who returns to stamp her authority on the class before she moves up in to the senior ranks.

Both Collingridge and Barr have represented the nation at a Worlds, but young Matilda Nicholls (Royal Lymington YC/Aldeburgh YC) can go one better as she claimed the U17 World Championships last year. Unlike her rivals, Nicholls qualifies for the U19 title but coming in to the Youth Nationals will surely be in the hunt for the U21 gold as well.

Also in the line-up are current Youth Squad sailors Molly Sacker (Royal Lymington YC/BOSSC), Mila Monaghan (Cardiff Bay YC) and Stephanie Wingeatt (Leigh and Lowton SC). And, keep an eye out for Alex Schonrock (Parkstone YC) who will be aiming to upset the order having only recently transitioned from the 4.7 to the Radial.

Laser Radial boys

Matt Beck (Bowmoor) will be coming in to the Youth Nationals riding high in the national rankings after an impressive display at the most recent qualifier event in Stokes Bay, but in a fleet of 47 sailors Beck will have his work cut out to stay ahead of the fleet.

Looking to sign off his Youth Nationals adventures with a good result Arthur Brown (Royal Burnham YC) will be gunning for a podium finish, something he is more than capable of. Brown has a taste for winning taking top spot at a qualifier in 2017.

There will be three current British Youth Squad sailors on the start line in Largs as Arthur Fry (Royal Lymington YC), Tom Pollard (St Catherine's SC) and Tom Renny (Teifi BC/Fishguard Bay YC) take on some highly rated young sailors making waves through the ranks. Krishan Bhogal (Manor Park Sailing Club), Thomas Parkhurst (Beaver SC/Royal Lymington YC), Jake Bowhay (Stokes Bay SC) and Nick Welbourn (Hykeham SC) will have the current squad members in their sights, as well as Youth Nationals medals.

Laser Standard

The Laser Standard offers up a grudge match as Jake Farren-Price (Chew Valley Lake SC) and Jamie Calder (Loch Tummel SC/Dalgety Bay SC) continue their personal battle for honours. Farren-Price got the better of Calder at a recent qualifier event at Stokes Bay, but Calder got one over on his rival at a Youth Nationals when they went against each other in the Radial at the 2015 edition. With this year's Nationals in Scotland, Calder will be hoping a bit of home country magic can give him the edge.

However, Farren-Price and Calder aren't the only ones looking to take home the title and will need to keep an eye out for some other strong sailors in the fleet.

A late slip in the Stokes Bay qualifier moved Joe Mullan (SUWC) down to third from the leading position, a wrong he hopes to right in Largs. Lewis Smith (Royal Forth YC) is another Scottish sailor looking to use home waters to his advantage while Jordan Giles (Royal Lymington YC) and Milo Gill-Taylor (Spinnaker/Royal Lymington YC) will be out to make their marks in their first Youth Nationals in the Standard, stepping up from the Radial.

In a fleet of 15 strong racers expect the standings to be tight at the top.

Nacra 15

With the successful introduction of the Nacra 17 to the Olympic programme, the Nacra 15 has its first dedicated fleet at a Youth Nationals to fall in line with the World Sailing Youth Worlds and Olympic multihull pathway.

William Smith and Abigail Clarke (Grafham SC/Royal Lymington YC) and brother and sister team, Theo and Jasmine Williams (Restronguet SC), were a step ahead of the rest at the recent Spring Series in Weymouth and Portland with Smith and Clarke winning that duel by a two point margin.

In another brother and sister team, Alexandra Hamel (Weston SC) takes the reigns as the only female helm in the fleet sailing with sibling Charlie, as Hector Bunclark and Daniel Craner (North Devon YC) line up as the only same sex team.

Even with a Youth Nationals title up for grabs there is another sub-plot playing out in the multihull. With the Nacra 15 making its debut at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, some crews are in the midst of qualification events which makes for interesting sailing in Largs as teams look to get a psychological edge on their rivals with fast racing and medals.

Racing at the 2018 RYA Youth National Championships begins on Monday 2 April through to Friday 6 April in Largs, Scotland.

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