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Cornah claims the crown at RYA Match Racing Grand Finals

by Andy Cornah 25 Oct 2022 17:24 BST 21-23 October 2022
Andy Cornah and his winning team of Kate Macgregor, Niall Myant-Best and Guy Brearey at the RYA National Match Racing Championship Grand Finals © Paul Wyeth / RYA

Sixteen teams gathered for the RYA National Match Racing Championship Grand Finals following a season of qualifiers, youth and university championships.

Royal Southern YC were the hosts with racing taking place on the Solent, adding an interesting tidal dimension to the fun and frenetics of match racing in RS21s!

Racing was scheduled over three days (21-23 October 2022) but was not possible on day 1 due to high winds, so competitors gathered before dawn on Saturday morning with a much better weekend forecast and plenty of racing to get through.

The 16 teams were split into two groups based on World Sailing match racing rankings and on Saturday each group completed a full round robin with the top 4 from each advancing through to the quarter finals.

Both groups were topped with 100% records with Andy Cornah in group A and Ted Blowers in group B both finding early form.

The battle for the top four was tight with group A seeing a three way tie for 4th, which saw event top seed Alastair Gifford come out on top, joining Cornah's team, Alex Colquitt and Matt Greenfield in the knockouts.

Group B saw strong performances from Ali Mo, Patrick Croghan and Ellie Cumpsty to see them advance alongside Blowers.

Sunday was knockouts day with event director Richard Moxey also scheduling continued racing for the teams that missed out. After a short delay for lightning strikes on the Solent, racing got under way with the quarter final wins going to Cornah, Blowers, Greenfield and Colquitt.

In the semi finals Blowers saw off Colquitt 2-0 and the other semi saw three incredibly close fought races with penalties, place changes and committee boat raft ups aplenty - Cornah emerged victorious 2-1 to face Blowers in the final.

The tide was now ripping upwind making pre-start quite tricky to judge the time back to the line and the prospect of being over the line very costly!

Race 1 saw an even split tack start with Blowers taking a narrow lead round the top mark; Cornah and crew kept things close on the run and picked their moment to lead the gybe, managing to roll over the top and lead into the bottom mark from where they extended away to take the win.

Race 2 saw an almost identical pre-start with Cornah leading back in and splitting tacks off towards the committee boat in the last 10 seconds - this left Blowers too close to the line and unable to not be taken over by the tide, giving Cornah a good head start up the first beat.

Blowers and team chased hard the whole way round but ultimately the OCS proved too costly and Cornah - with his crew of Guy Brearey, Niall Myant-Best and Kate Macgregor (back on bow after winning as a helm in 2021) - holding on to take the title.

For Cornah this was his second title in three years. "We had a really fun weekend - whilst it was a shame not to race on the first day, the event team and in particular PRO Tom Rusbridge did an amazing job of getting tons of high quality racing in for all teams," said Cornah.

"It was a pleasure to sail with my amazing crew this weekend, they did a great job getting us round the race track, which wasn't easy especially when the tide was ripping!"

Matt Greenfield and team took third place defeating Colquitt in the petit final.

Thank you to Royal Southern YC for hosting the event and RS for supplying the boats.

Full results can be found here.

Find out more about RYA Match Racing and all upcoming events - including the start of the RYA Winter Match Racing Series in January 2023 - at www.ryamatchracing.co.uk

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