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STRA Schools Sprints at Linlithgow Loch

by Peter Collings 23 Jan 2020 17:58 GMT 18 January 2020
Roo Purves leading the Toppers through the first gate from a reaching start in the STRA Schools Sprints at Linlithgow Loch © Tom Goodman

A one-day event in January is always risky. Even if there are no storms, snow or ice, there's still the small matter of getting enough boats and sailors out in a Scottish winter. Luckily, the stars aligned for the inaugural STRA sprint event, and clear skies and a force 3 greeted the five Toppers and four Fevas at Linlithgow Loch.

Whilst this was organised by the Scottish Team Racing Association (STRA), it was a fleet racing event.

Racing started on time, with a short windward-leeward course, and there were early statements of intent from Roo Purves in the Topper, and Yuan Wong & Emily Shearer in the Feva, both winning with commanding performances in the first race, and both following it up with further wins in races 2 and 3.

Behind Roo in the Toppers, Morven Wood, Ben Urquhart and Rebecca Shearer were trading places in some hotly-contested racing, although a capsize from Morven in race 3 opened up a gap between Roo and the chasing pack.

In the Fevas, Yuan/Emily extended their lead over closest challengers Kate Fowler/Dan MacGregor (recovering after gear failure in the first race) and Fraser Patrick/Jonas Elder.

After six races on a standard windward/leeward course, racing was switched to a reaching start by the windward gate, and this had an immediate effect on the results. Roo registered a fourth place after hitting the pin end at the start, and this let Morven close the gap to just two points with her second win of the day.

Kate & Dan also grabbed their first win in the Fevas to put the pressure on Yuan & Emily going into the final few races. The reaching starts were also seeming to suit the less experienced sailors, with Cameron McDaid in the Topper and Sally Mackay & Lottie van der Ven in the Feva getting right into the mix on the downwind legs.

In spite of this, the early pace-setters managed to adjust to the new course quickly, and both Roo and Yuan & Emily eventually extended their leads at the top of the standings, before sailing finished up for the day at 14:30 as the sun disappeared behind Linlithgow Palace.

It was great to see such a fantastic turnout for the first event of the season, and hopefully we'll have more of the same at the next schools sprints in Helensburgh on the 15th of February.

RS Feva Results:

1Yuan WongEmily ShearerCastlehead High School9
2Kate FowlerDan McGregorGeorge Herriot’s/Queensferry High School14
3Fraser PatrickJonas ElderEdinburgh Academy20
4Sally MackayLottie van der VenMary Erskine31

Topper Results:

1Roo PurvesNorth Berwick High School8
2Morven WoodBearsden Academy14
3Ben UrquhartBeath High School22
4Rebecca ShearerJordanhill27
5Cameron McDaidSkelmorlie40

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