Please select your home edition
Edition

Harken RYA Youth Match Racing Championship 2021

by Richard Aspland 10 Sep 2021 16:48 BST

Close racing at the Harken RYA Youth Match Racing Championship hosted at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy took the battle for the title down to the wire.

Following a day of extremely tight racing in perfect 10-15 knot conditions and sunshine, skipper Alex Colquitt with Haydn Sewell on main and bowman Will Heathcote, were leading overnight but only by a narrow margin. With the other teams snapping at their heels and still in contention, Colquitt's team then managed to just hold on at the top of the leaderboard as the round robin series concluded on day two.

With the wind having gradually dropped off on day one to settle at around 10 knots, the evenly-matched racing in Elliott 6M keelboats over the weekend of 4-5 September then continued through the finals series. Both semis and the petit final were settled with a 2:1 scoreline.

Skipper Alex Whitfield with Chris Jones and Emma Bennett won the petit final to finish third overall ahead of Josh Davies, Ian Ratnage and Anne-Marie Ratnage. The final saw Colquitt's team and opponents Will Caiger, Charles Cooper and India Trenowden go 1:1 before Colquitt sealed the championship by taking the next two bullets.

Colquitt has competed in previous match racing events as a bowman but this event was his first as a skipper. He said: "We started off pretty strong but made a few boat handling mistakes towards the end of the first day and although we were leading overnight and after the round robin, we were only a win or two clear of the other boats, so it was pretty tight all the way through. The semi-final was then a 2:1 win and the finals went 3:1 so there were definitely tense points."

"I think what really made the difference between the races we won and lost was the pre-start and getting control before the start, and after that we were confident we were pretty quick around the course to stay ahead. Haydn and Will are really experienced with fleet and other kinds of racing and good at getting us going fast around the course, and I come from a bit of a team racing background so I guess that has transferable skills in a way. What I enjoy about match racing is the really tight boat-on-boat racing. You do get that in fleet racing, where you're coming into close quarters with other boats, but in match racing you get that in every single race... they're short snappy races where there's always some kind of intensity going on."

Among those competing was a young team of match racers from Poole YC - helm Oli Hale with Tom Clayton, Tom Cluett and Amber Hale - who despite having a few last places while getting used to the boat and pre-starts, were enthused by their improving skills and are now looking forward to taking part again next year. Amber said: "It's more exciting than fleet racing, there's more going on and there's more boat-on-boat handling so it's more sort of focused. It's a fair race as well because the boats are all exactly the same."

A highlight for fourth-placed Josh Davies, Ian and Anne-Marie Ratnage was likewise finding winning form after initially losing a number of races in a row, as their starting and upwind legs improved over the course of the hugely competitive championship. Asked whether they would recommend match racing to other sailors thinking of giving it a go, Anne-Marie added: "Definitely go for it! This is only the second event I've done and I already want to do more!"

All the results from the weekend: www.matchracingresults.com/2021/rya-youth-championships

Summing up, Event Coach Mary Rook said: "The teams were a real mix of ages from more experienced sailors who had attended previous match racing events, to the younger first timers.

"We saw a great improvement in all of the sailors and with five teams we had enough time to do three round robins. The teams results were really mixed and it provided some great close racing.

"Just missing out from the semi-finals we're the youngest team from Poole Yacht Club. Having thoroughly enjoyed the racing they vowed to come back again next year with some more practice under their belts.

"The semi-finals saw all teams win races and kept the umpires on their toes with penalties a plenty. It was a great weekend of racing and all the sailors should be very proud of how they sailed and how many improvements they made. I look forward to seeing them succeed in the future."

Next up in the 2021 RYA National Match Racing Championship series is the Marlow Ropes Women's Championship, again in Elliotts at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, over the forthcoming weekend of 11-12 September.

There will then be the Summer Match Racing 3 event in RS21s at Poole YC, 2-3 October 2021, followed by Summer Match Racing 4 (Ceilidh Cup) in Sonars at the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club, Helensburgh, over the weekend of 9-10 October.

For further information and entry find out more at www.rya.org.uk/racing/keelboat-racer/match-racing

The series concludes with the invitational National Match Racing Grand Finals in RS21s at Queen Mary SC, 29-31 October.

Related Articles

Damian wins OM International Ledro Match Race
Finding their form on the lake conditions winning the final 3-0 French match racing skipper Damian Michelier and his crew were crowned champions of the 2022 OM International Ledro Match Race last weekend, marking the first year for the popular Italian match racing event as an official World Tour event Posted on 24 Jun
Rose Cup US Youth Match Racing overall
Pinckney defeats Callahan in spectacular five-race finals Team Pinckney (Newport Harbor YC) defeated Team Callahan (Biscayne Bay YC) in a spectacular display of high-stakes match racing to win the 2022 US Youth Match Racing Championship for the Rose Cup. Posted on 20 Jun
Rose Cup US Youth Match Racing day 2
Callahan and Pinckney sweep semis to face off in the finals Teams Callahan (Biscayne Bay YC) and Pinckney (Newport Harbor YC) each put up three straight wins in their semifinal matches on Saturday to secure their berths in the finals of the US Youth Match Racing Champion-ship for the Rose Cup on Sunday. Posted on 19 Jun
Rose Cup US Youth Match Racing day 1
Callahan of Biscayne Bay YC undefeated after day one Comprised of crew members Mitchell Callahan, Madeleine Hughes and Liam O'Keefe, Team Callahan has six wins under the belt and remains the only undefeated team in the regatta. Posted on 18 Jun
U.S. Youth Match Racing Rose Cup preview
This invitational event has served as an outstanding training ground for U.S. youth sailors The thrill and excitement of match racing will be on full display this weekend in Long Beach, CA, as the U.S. Youth Match Racing Championship for the Rose Cup will be hosted by the Long Beach Yacht Club. Posted on 16 Jun
WMRT extends contribution to sustainability
Announcing a new collaboration with Sailors for The Sea Powered by Oceana Following Wednesday's celebration of World Ocean Day, the World Match Racing Tour today announced a new collaboration with Sailors for The Sea Powered by Oceana, the world's leading ocean conservation organisation. Posted on 11 Jun
Youth invited to enter Under-19 Match Racing
Opportunity to #rockupandrace in RS21s at coached event Youth sailors are invited to sign up for the RYA Under-19 Match Racing Championship taking place over the weekend of 9-10 July at London's Queen Mary Sailing Club. Posted on 2 Jun
Match Racing: RNZYS enthusiastic about Womens WMRC
Women's Match Racing World Championships will see 14 skippers invited to take part in Auckland The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has confirmed that it will be bringing world-class sailing back to Auckland with the 2022 Women's Match Racing World Championships, as the final event of the inaugural Women's World Match Racing Tour, in November 2022 Posted on 18 May
WMRT relaunches Women's World Match Racing Tour
Final to be held in Auckland in November 2022 The World Match Racing Tour has announced the launch of the first Women's World Match Racing Tour, a global professional series designed to promote and grow female participation in sailing and match racing around the world. Posted on 18 May
Harken Youth Match Racing Cup preview
New Zealand's best youth sailors ready for Trans-Tasman Test The Aussies are coming! New Zealand's best youth sailors ready for Trans-Tasman Test. Posted on 16 May