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Inaugural NEYYSA North Region Team Racing Championship at Ripon Sailing Club

by Fiona Spence 1 Mar 07:07 GMT 25-26 February 2023

North East & Yorkshire Youth Sailing Association (NEYYSA) held their first ever team racing event over the weekend of 25 & 26 February at Ripon Sailing Club. 7 teams from across the north region battled it out in some really close racing. Several of the teams were experienced team-racers, others were new to team racing, and in some cases new to the Feva dinghy the event was held in as well!

NEYYSA's remit is to provide inclusive, supportive & friendly but competitive racing to youth & junior sailors in the region and this event certainly did this! The collective cheers and groans from the spectators as the teams duelled just off the shore were significant and the shared jubilation from everyone watching when the less experienced teams delivered their first wins was palpable.

The two-boat team event was raced across three round robins in Feva dinghies, with each team sailing 21 races. Racing was curtailed on Sunday afternoon when the wind dropped completely and overall positions were decided based on the round robin scores. Skills increased throughout the event and teams steadily got to grips with more complex team racing moves throughout the weekend, enabling several teams to claim scalps from the two leading teams late Saturday/ Sunday morning (much to the delight of the crowd).

We were lucky enough to be supported at the event by York Uni Sailing Club who sat in the start & finish boats all weekend to help deliver the racing. The event was also fortunate to have a lot of experienced team racers on the bank who acted as coaches and offered feedback and advice to the teams when they came ashore, helping upskill all teams as the weekend went on. Ripon were fabulous hosts laying on a huge galley offering (hands off, that last creme egg brownie is mine!) and a fish & chip supper on Saturday night. Lots of their members came to spectate too and enjoyed watching the close racing, rule knowledge and boat handling on display.

Topper North X and North Oppies went into the event with their cards marked with expectation and their first tussle in round 1 certainly set the scene for the rest of their races over the weekend, neither team was prepared to give an inch and it was gripping spectator stuff. Pengwins were also expected to provide some quality racing and once they got into their stride they delivered wins against both North Oppies and North Toppers but left it just too late to cause upset in the top 2 spots. A team from Ripon/Otley who were venturing into Fevas for the first time, as well as participating in their first team racing event inevitably struggled against the more experienced teams but took all the advice offered from the shore onboard to deliver wins on Sunday morning and it was fantastic to see their boat handling and rule knowledge improve over the weekend.

Another scratch team at the event, Feva Divas proved they could almost walk on water and showed that with time they could become a team-racing force to be reckoned with. West Kirby, whose infectious dancing and obvious enjoyment of everything sailing were a crowd favourite struggled to make their mark at the top of the score board but proved they could do it and with time will also increase the depth of team-racing skill in the region. #teamripon were another new to team-racing combo at the event and also had the only 5 member team as the Notice of Race allowed teams with U11 crews to have a third crew, the two 9 year olds team-mates took it in turns to crew one boat; the team also improved significantly over the weekend and notched a couple of race wins onto their score card.

A massive thank you to the race team, umpires, mark layers, parents, helpers, clubs who loaned boats & equipment, people who fetched & returned boats and everyone else who made the event possible. A big thank you to KSail and the UK Team Racing Association for their behind the scenes support, advice and paperwork. NEYYSA is celebrating their 40th birthday this year and this event certainly kicked off the celebrations and started the 2023 season in style.

Congratulations to Team Topper North X who defeated Team North Oppies on count back having both scored the same number of race wins and win points, it really was gripping stuff!

Overall Results:

1. Topper North X - 18 race wins, 6 win points, 2/3 races vs North Oppies
2. North Oppies - 18 race wins, 6 win points, 1/3 races vs Topper North X
3. Pengwins - 17 race wins, 5.7 win points
4. Feva Divas - 11 race wins, 3.7 win points
5. #teamripon - 9 race wins, 3.0 win points
6. West Kirby - 7 race wins, 2.3 win points
7. Ripon/Otley - 4 race wins, 1.3 win points

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