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Sea Sure FLO Tell Tales Red Green
Sea Sure FLO Tell Tales Red Green

Isle of Wight Youth and Junior Championships roll into Yarmouth for sunshine and smiles

by Graeme Bowen 12 Oct 2021 13:25 BST 9 October 2021
Close Racing in the Tera fleet during the the Isle of Wight Youth and Junior Championships at Yarmouth © Jenny Nicholls

The Isle of Wight Youth and Junior Championships, which have been created by Brading Haven Yacht Club (BHYC,) The Royal Victoria Yacht Club (RVYC,) Gurnard Sailing Club (GSC,) the Royal Solent Yacht Club (RSYC) and Yarmouth Sailing Club (YSC,) to provide Island young people the opportunity to sail at different clubs, came to Yarmouth on Saturday 9th October.

The day started still and misty. As the 34 boats from the five Clubs started to assemble and rig at YSC it looked doubtful if there would be enough wind to sail. The Lasers, which were programmed to compete at RSYC, were already transferred to the River Yar as with the forecast light airs they wouldn't have been able to make progress against the strong Western Solent tide. Now, even their transferred race and the one planned for the Teras looked in danger of being lost to the light weather.

However, the weather gods were kind to the West Wight and shortly after 10:00 a light breeze filled in. Boats got on the water and started to sail to their starting areas. There was a further complication of a very high tide which was going to flood the marsh leaving the visitors no ideas as to where the mud banks were but the launch crew had a solution. For the duration of the racing, withies (sticks) were planted on the edges of the mud so that all the competitors knew where the deeper water was to be found.

The Teras were divided into three fleets - Pro Racing, Sport and Regatta who could be coached on the water - and, along with the Lasers, were marshalled into their holding areas before their starts. The children were relaxed and enjoying themselves as they chatted away to each other like the geese on the River just before take-off. The standard of starting across the fleets showed a wide range of ability with some hitting the line, with as much speed as the wind would allow, on the starting gun whilst others found it difficult to overcome the strongly running tide to cross the line.

Across the fleets some of the racing was closely contended with meticulously contested mini battles for places fought out in different parts of the River. The Lasers sailing to a buoy above King's Manor contested places all the way there and back. The same could be seen in the Tera fleet with some tough sparring for places.

While there was some tight racing in each of the fleets there were also clear winners who dominated the results. In the Tera Pro fleet, it was Thomas Leather who came away with two firsts only being beaten by Ollie Mayo in one race who finished second overall and Tom Yates was third. Tom Leather's brother, Samuel, was equally dominant in the Tera Sport fleet being unbeaten all day with Cassius Day and Maeve Hall close behind in second and third overall. Rafe Bradley was equally impressive in the Tera Regatta fleet coming off the water unbeaten with Patrick Di Salle and Alexander Elderfield taking second and third. The other dominant sailor was Kristian Schaffer in the Lasers again having a clean sweep of first with Sarah Gabbani, second, and Patrick Tate, third.

It was a glorious day's sailing, even if the wind was a little light, and the children came off the water hot and wanting to swim to cool down, remarkable for mid-October. However, with plenty of cake and a barbecue on the go there was considerable motivation to get back to the YSC clubhouse. What a lovely day!