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Sailors ready for their shot at the RYA Youth Nationals in Largs

by Richard Aspland, RYA 2 Apr 2018 03:19 BST 2-6 April 2018
Nacra15 fleet - 2018 RYA Youth National Championship © Marc Turner / RYA

Over 225 sailors from across the nation have travelled to Largs, Scotland, in the pursuit of a coveted 2018 RYA Youth National Championship title.

All signed and in raring to go, the young sailors will test their skills across five classes in challenging Scottish conditions as a widely changing forecast is predicted for the premier youth event.

When the competition begins on Monday 2 April through to Friday 6 April, Race Director Mark Nicholls is hoping that the impression that all of the attending sailors have already made can continue: "I've been happy with the way the sailors have engaged with every aspect of the process so far," said Nicholls.

"All of the staff have been impressed by the way all the sailors have taken registration, profiling and the equipment inspection in their stride.

"We have tried to involve the competitors a lot more this year in the processes, for example having some of them relay the sailing instructions in a video, and we think it has really paid off."

One of those sailors is Alexandra Hamel (Weston SC) who is the only female helm in the first dedicated Youth Nationals Nacra15 fleet. Sailing with brother Charlie, Alexandra is experiencing her first outing on the waters of Largs: "It has really nice views. We found out sailing though it is very tidal. A lot more tide than wind and we aren't used to. There's a lot more tide than at our usual sailing club."

The multihull is making its full debut at the Youth Nationals and Alexandra is one of the eight helms who will be getting to grips with the new equipment: "We got our boat in January," explained Alexandra, "so we are still quite new to it. We have been sailing Spitfire's for a while so this just takes some getting used to because it's a bit shorter."

Just like many of the sailors, Alexandra is here to test herself against some of the best sailors in the country, but is realistic about her chances and is in Largs for another reason: "It's quite a small fleet and everyone gets on really well. I'm here for the experience and see what happens. It's our first real event in the Nacra so we are looking at around mid-fleet."

The other classes in action throughout the regatta are the Laser Standard, Laser Radial, 420 and 29ers.

Racing at the 2018 RYA Youth National Championships is scheduled to begin at 11:25 GMT on Monday 2 April.

You can follow the event build-up on the event website, British Youth Sailing Facebook page and on Twitter at @RYAyouthsailing. Share your comments with us using #RYAYouths.

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