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Close racing for RYA Summer Match Racing qualifier 2 at Queen Mary Sailing Club

by British Keelboat Sailing 28 Sep 12:13 BST 24-25 September 2022
RYA Summer Match Racing qualifier 2 at Queen Mary © Jack Fenwick

Glorious conditions and close competition at London's Queen Mary Sailing Club saw Nick Devereux and his team emerge victorious in the latest RYA Summer Match Racing Series qualifier.

The #rockupandrace event saw eight teams battling it out in RS21s, including some coming back to match racing for the first time in a while and others who were new to the discipline.

Held over the weekend of 24-25 September 2022, day one saw racing get under way with sunny skies and around 10-12 knots of building breeze setting the scene for the round robin.

Tom Williams earned his place at the top of the leaderboard by a clear margin but it came down to almost the last race in the round robin between Nick Devereux and Julian Fung to decide which other team would also be guaranteed a spot in the semi-final, with Devereux qualifying.

The repechage series was then able to get under way with a couple of flights before continuing on the Sunday morning. In lighter winds than forecast, a tricky race track with a shifty and patchy breeze tested sailors and race officer alike. The determination of the competitors also saw umpires kept busy with lots of penalty flags.

A series of good tussles completed the repechage with a four-way tie at the top in which each team was counting three race wins; this was eventually split to allocate the remaining semi-final place to Paris Thomas alongside James Morson.

Nick Devereux with Alex Hughes, Matt Taylor, Bella Fellows won his semi final v Paris Thomas 2:0. Tom Williams and his team of Emily Wiltshire, Jack Preece and Robert Hooper had a slightly tougher fight against James Morson: Williams won his first match, lost the second and then claimed the third to secure his place in the final.

The final saw Devereux take a 2:0 lead, with Williams then leading off the startline and staying ahead to claim the third race. Devereux then managed to get a good start in the last race and stayed in control throughout to win the event. In the petit final James Morson racing Paris Thomas claimed third overall with a 2:0 scoreline.

Event director Jack Fenwick summarised: "It was great to see some young new sailors coming through, pushing and challenging the more experienced match racers. There were some pretty tough races and the fact we had a four-way tie demonstrates just how close the racing really was.

"Whilst Nick Devereux and his team deserved to win, Tom Williams and his team sailed fantastically and the other teams were sailing very well, with only a few boat handling errors. Everybody should be very proud of their performance over the weekend."

Winner Devereux, helming for the first time at a match racing event, put his team's success down to solid basic essentials: "We got off the startline, made the boat go fast and just had really quick manoeuvres... and head out the boat a lot. A lot of team racing principles come into it but it's nice to just have to focus one-on-one. The pre-start was really verbal, you're constantly next to a boat, and moving your boat to the best of your ability.

"We just found that keeping the boat moving and keeping a bit of a gap was useful. You were always wary about what the other boat was doing, when to lead or follow, and making sure you're on time. It was all really close and the racing was good, we didn't have a race where we ever sailed away into the distance."

Commenting on the easy-to-access format with boats rigged and ready-to-go, he added: "It was efficiently run and the umpires were all friendly and helpful to talk to, and it was great to be able to rock up and get going, without having to tow your boat or do any pack up after the event."

The RYA Summer Match Racing Series - supported by Marlow Ropes, Harken and Hyde Sails - continues 8-9 October 2022 with qualifier 3 for the Ceilidh Cup in Sonars at Royal Northern & Clyde YC, Scotland.

Teams who win an event are invited to compete in the Grand Final, 21-23 October 2022, at the Royal Southern YC in Hamble, Southampton. Teams may also request a Wild Card ticket by 1 October to be considered for a place in the final.

Find out more about RYA Match Racing and all upcoming events at www.ryamatchracing.co.uk

Overall Results: (see full results breakdown)

PosTeam
1Nick Devereux, Alex Hughes, Matt Taylor, Bella Fellows
2Tom Williams, Emily Wiltshire, Jack Preece, Robert Hooper
3James Morson, Mali Harnett, Phil Aldhous, Jenny Smallwood, Richard Thomas
4Paris Thomas, Callum Farnden, Marta Uncio Ribera, Fin Gribbin
5Alex Colquitt, Rhys Lewis, Joe Bradley, Harriet Watkins
6Matt Greenfield, Pete Bentley, David Rolfe, Claire Walsh
7Josh Adams, Gabrielle Mascio, Catherine Brooke, Amy Hinsliff‑Smith
8Julian Fung, Matt Wright, Alice Smith, Dominic Williams

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