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GP14 Youth Championships at Budworth Sailing Club

by Ross Baird & Vanessa Devereux 15 Aug 20:08 BST 7-8 August 2021

With the changes by World Sailing to enable multi-championships together on the same course and event, the GP14 class is eager to encourage youth sailors into our fantastic class and financially supported this event. To encourage more participation an new category racing for a new shield had been introduced by the Association - Youth Helm sailing with an Adult Crew.

The weekend started with a training day lead by the event coach and many time National Youth Champion in both ends of a GP, Sarah Jarman. 10 boats took part with a variety of experience of the boat, from first time sailing one, to regularly crew for a couple of seasons. The sailors quickly got on the water and were improving in both confidence and technique. After lunch the winds picked up and club race board members started rigging on the front lawn. The fleet came off the water allowing the race boards to go for a blast.

Later as the winds dropped 2 boats returned to the water for 1:1 coaching by Sarah and Todbrook's Ed Washington, these were quickly being chased around by 2 ribs of eager sailors who jumped in and honed skills. Friday Social Sailing and the Local Sea Scout groups joined in the fun on the Mere as BBQ's were lit and an order for nearly 20 pizzas was placed. The sailors continued to ask questions and socialise.

After the heavy winds of Friday, the winds had eased by the time racing started on Saturday with the fleet greeted with a comfortable 6-10 knot breeze from the south. Racing got under way soon after 11am on a course using as much of the mere as possible. In comparison to Friday's training, helm and crew were challenged to squeeze every knot out of the falling breeze. Emily Page and Matthew Williams of Budworth led the fleet across the line followed by Hannah Whittam and Henry White of Todbrook.

The same course was kept for Race 2. The fleet was fleet 50/50 as to whether spinnakers were a help or hindrance on the two short reaching legs. They paid of for some, but others not so much. Budworth completed a quinella as Emily Page and Matthew Williams led James Alexander and Joe Mills home.

Race 3 which had been moved forwards to Saturday after checking the forecast; had a smaller triangular course maximising what wind there was and keeping away for the shadows of shoreline trees. The compact course and light breeze made for congestion at the top mark on each beat with the juniors expressing the deep knowledge of rights of way. Teamwork was paramount to keep the boats moving. As the last official race of the day, all boats were keen to make for the best start.

Eagerness proved costly for some as a few boats were over before the gun. In the light winds, the left side of the course provided a little extra pressure giving advantage those staying on starboard from the start. Peter Boyle and Joe Doherty from Sutton elected for the spinnaker and drove over the top of others to take the lead after the first lap. They were never headed after that to take the wind followed by Hannah Whittam and Henry White from Todbrook.

With the days official racing complete, several boats returned to the water after a debrief by Sarah: for some frantic sprint races, comprising of a 2 laps windward-leeward course with very short legs. The races may have been a chance for the sailors to practise tips from the event coach and did not count towards the championship, but nobody told the sailors. Positioning on the line was hotly contested in each of the 4 races with at least one all boats recall. Mark roundings were hectic, and the close quarter racing made more entertaining as the wind began to fresh to a fun 12 knots.

Despite the close racing, all boats were returned to the boat park in one piece much to the delight of those that had lent their boats for the event. Roseanna and Sian took race one, Annabel Paige and Georgia won race 2 and 4 sandwiching sister Emily Paige sailing with regular GP14 crew Matthew Williams who won race 3. The fleet and their parents and other observers from the shore all learnt a valuable trick when Roseanna and Sian dropped their spinnaker, and it went under the boat. Parents raced for the rescue boat when the event coach Sarah shouted to them to sail backwards. Many of the sailors and spectators had not experienced sprint racing and soon realised how entertaining and intensive on practising skills. I'm sure that these will soon be a regular event at Budworth SC.

Sailor "sprint races were short and concise which gave an opportunity for others to lead. We learnt a lot in a short space of time and consolidated coaching into practise."

The evening continued with a BBQ, meat flipping was the Commodore, Bill Kenyon, while his wife Gill had prepared all the sides. Entertainment was by the Murphy family, consisting of Rob with daughters Eva and Connie. Sarah continued to be supporting the sailors by answering questions and discussing the day's events.

Sunday saw a return to the conditions experienced on Friday with a westerly wind gusting to 25 knots greeting competitors. The challenge, especially for the lighter competitors was keeping the boats under control throughout the extremely gusty breeze. Although, less shifty, the gusts meant that a degree of the racing was about survival or at least getting around the course while staying upright. Not all competitors kept their hair dry. The gusty conditions again had different sailors choosing between spinnakers or not as the downwind legs provided some entertaining and exhilarating rides. Emily Page and Matthew Williams managed the winds best followed by James Alexander and Joe Mills.

The winds strengthened for the final race and fatigue started to play on the minds of the sailors after two and a half days of hard sailing. First place was hotly contested between the top two boats (Emily Page and Matthew Williams, and Peter Boyle and Joe Doherty) who were joined by Victoria Theaker and Bryn Barker from Combs in a three-way battle. Peter and Joe got the jump on there competitors to take the win.

There was a delay before prize-giving as a protest was held, many thanks to Harry Brown for chairing this. This enabled much discussion on rules and was an important learning curve for all involved. Some sailors learnt about the importance of sailing at other clubs as mark identification can be different as well as learning how fluky small lakes can be.

Visiting sailors commented on how many juniors had been trained up by the host club Budworth and entered the event.

Sailors who were new to the class expressed that they "found the event friendly, competitive and welcoming. It was a valuable learning experience due to the great training and sprint racing." Another commented "the skills learnt could be transferred into their usual sailing fleets".

The weekend rounded off a brilliant few months for many sailors from Budworth SC as they have stepped out of their junior classes to try the double handed GP14. The hard work clearly paid off with them all sporting huge smiles and maybe a couple bruises.

The event created friendships and hopefully will help the Association in seeing the required entries to be able to upgrade our first Youth Boat at a Worlds to a Youth World Champion. In a week where the GP14 2004 Youth World Champion Stu Bithell won gold for team GB at the Olympics, where can we expect to see these sailors in the future??

Trophies awarded:

National 57 team Trophy (3 highest placed boats from a club or group) - Tadbrook & Combs SC
Hazelock Cup (Highest Lady Helm and Crew) - Roseanna Joyce and Sian Baird
Milliken Cup (18 years and under) - Emily Page

Youth Helm sailing with an Adult crew:

Winner - Michaela and Hugh Attfield
Runner up - Matthew and ross Baird
Third Place - Charlotte and Ken Critchley

Overall Results:

114140 Emily Page & Matthew Williams Budworth SC11‑3125
2(youth) 14116 Peter Boyle & Joe Doherty Sutton Dinghy Club341(dnf 15)19
3(youth) 14232 Hannah Whittam & Henry White Todbrook Sc2‑725413
413883 James Alexander & Joe Mills Budworth SC62‑92717
5(youth) 13389 Victoria Theaker & Bryn Barker Coombs Sc438(ret 15)318
6(youth) 13744 George Jacobs & Henry Bayliss Coombes Todrook Sc‑10643619
713721 Rosanna Joyce & Sian Baird Budworth SC8554‑922
814201 Michaela & Hugh Attfield Budworth SC79‑106527
914010 Annabel Page & Georgia Evans Budworth SC5‑868827
1013541 Fin Waterhouse & Kian Lawlor Budworth SC9‑11771033
1113875 Matthew & Ross Baird Budworth SC111011(dnf 15)dns 1547
1213777 Charlotte & Ken Critchley Budworth SC(DNS 15)1212dns 15dns 1554
1314201 Hermione Attfield Budworth SC(DNS 15)DNS 15DNS 15dns 15dns 1560
13(youth) 14018 Samuel Bailey & Finlay Morgan South Staffs Sc(DNS 15)DNS 15DNS 15dns 15dns 1560

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