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Royal visit brings sunshine to Scotland at the RYA Youth Nationals

by Richard Aspland, RYA 5 Apr 2018 20:41 BST 2-6 April 2018
HRH on the water on day 4 at the 2017 Youth Nationals © Marc Turner / RYA

The 2018 RYA Youth National Championships was graced by the presence of Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal on day four in Largs, Scotland, as all fleets completed a bumper day of racing.

Her Royal Highness, president of Youth National Championships organisers the Royal Yachting Association, seemed to be the Youth Nationals lucky charm as her visit coincided with an upturn in weather as the sun started to break through the clouds on the Scottish coast.

The race committee worked hard all day long to keep the competitors sailing in tricky conditions and all fleets managed four races, the Nacra15 even managed one extra and competed five in front of Her Royal Highness as she watched from a motorboat close to the action.

Results on day four mimicked the wind and seemingly bounced around the fleet as sailors and teams moved up and down the rankings.


Consistency was key for Niamh Harper and Ross Thompson (Loch Tummel SC + Royal Tay YC/Frensham Pond SC) in the 420 as ups and downs on the scorecard really shuffled the pack on a tricky day.

The Scottish team managed two thirds and a fifth before taking the final bullet of the day to sit atop the leaderboard, but it wasn't easy: "It was really tricky today," said Harper, "and I think we got lucky just to keep the scorecard really consistent. Some people had complete blinders and then were buried in the next race so we did well to keep consistent."

The key to success for the pair seemed to be defined roles in the boat from the well drilled duo: "I focus on the going fast and the speed and I make sure Ross is out of the boat all the time to see where the fleet is going," explained Harper.

"It was so hard in the last race though as the fleet completely split 50/50 left and right so I was getting a little stressed, but managed to get the steady breeze. And then the sun came out. So I can't really complain can I?"

Harper's 'blinder or buried' assessment of the days results couldn't be more true. Adele Young and Daniel Burns (Parkstone YC) seemed to fair the best of the rest with two second places, a fourth and a discarded 12 that moved them up to second overall.

Rhys Lewis and Drew Wright (CBYC) moved in to third position in the standings taking a bullet to go with a 3,8,9 scoreline.

Even the new leaders of the girls fleet had to settle for highs and lows as Vita Heathcote and Milly Boyle (RLymYC) finished the day with a 3,5,6,14. They did however fair better than their nearest rivals Charlotte Boyle and Georgia Baker (RLYC) who could only string together a 15,16,16,17 to drop down to second place in the girls section below the Scots.

Jack Lewis and Charlie Bacon (Draycote Water Sailing Club) and Haydn Sewell and William Heathcote (RLymYC) were the other race winners of the day.


The discard really came in to play on day four for the 29ers as Ewan Wilson and Finlay Armstrong (Wormit boating club) could not make it to the top of the leaderboard despite four wins from five races.

That honour instead goes to Bella Fellows and Anna Sturrock (Yealm YC) who shot to the top thanks to some consistent sailing, even if it was a surprise straight off the water: "Well that's pretty cool," said Sturrock, "We thought we were around fourth."

A second, three thirds and a fifth place finish meant the pair could discard their disappointing 17th place in the first race of the regatta, something that really affected Fellows: "I was in a state last night. I had a little cry to myself. But we know we take time to warm up in an event and then we realise and remember we can actually sail and we are alright."

They certainly were alright and it was all thanks to cautious racing: "We were actually being quite conservative," explained Sturrock. "We were just trying to manage the fleet because it was so hard to know what the wind was doing. As long as we were at the top of the bunch covering the back we were ok."

Not only are Fellows/Sturrock top of the overall standings, it means they are top of the girls section with a 21 point cushion over next best Hannah Bristow and Jessica Jobson (WPNSA/RTYC).

Behind the impressive Wilson/Armstrong are James Hammett and Piers Nicholls (HISC) in third overall and second in the boys section. Hammett/Nicholls took the only bullet that their rivals couldn't manage to secure and married that up with a fourth, sixth and discarded 11th.

Laser Standard

Joseph Mullan (SUWC) leads the way in the Laser Standard with two race wins from four.

Mullan leapfrogged overnight leader Jamie Calder (Loch Tummel SC/Dalgety Bay SC) who could not follow up his impressive day three results and slipped a place thanks to a 3,4,5,5 score. Calder now sits six points back from leader Mullan but four ahead of third placed Jake Farren-Price.

Both Farren-Price (Chew Valley Lake SC) and fourth placed Lewis Smith (Royal Forth Yacht Club) took the other bullets on offer from the day.

Laser Radial Girls

Daisy Collingridge (Waldringfield) and Chloe Barr (Stokes Bay) continue to fight it out at the top of the Laser Radial Girls fleet as both impress on day four.

Collingridge started the better of the two winning the first race, but Barr came back with a win in the final race of the day. Collingridge has 12 points to hold the overnight lead with Barr one point back on 13.

Matilda Nicholls (Royal Lymington YC/Aldeburgh YC) holds third overall but it was Iona Dixon (Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre) and Molly Sacker (RLymYC/BOSSC) who took the race wins that the top two could not.

Nacra 15

William Smith and Abigail Clarke (Grafham SC/Lymington YC) maintained their place at the top of the Nacra15 fleet as the multihull sailors managed five races on day four.

Smith/Clarke took another two wins to add to two second places and a third, which they discard, and have a total of ten points for the regatta.

Three points back in second overall are Morgan Smith and Molly Desorgher (Rutland Sailing Club) who took the bullet in the first race of the day and followed it up with a 2,2,4,5.

Other race winners in the fleet were third placed Theo and Jasmine Williams (Restronguet Sailing Club) and William Harrison and Arabella Sabberton (Marconi SC/Norfolk Broads YC/GWSC).

The lighter wind conditions that Largs produced on day four has allowed all the fleets to pull back just a little of what was lost from the extreme conditions of day one and two. The stage is now set for the final day of racing scheduled to begin at 10:25 GMT on Friday 6 April to crown the 2018 RYA Youth National champions.

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.

All results for the 2018 RYA Youth Nationals can be found at

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