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Noble Marine & Sailingfast ILCA 4 girls Autumn Qualifier (Q6) at Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy

by Jessica Powell 26 Oct 2023 18:49 BST 21-22 October 2023

Earlier this year, UKLA conducted a survey focussed on female participation in the ILCA so they could understand how the class could look to increase female participation in the ILCA 4 and 6. The feedback that was received was to potentially having some separate races for males and females so the class took the initiative to trial a separate ILCA 4 Male and Female start at last weekend's UK Qualifier at WPNSA.

20 Female Sailors enter this category which was slightly more that we had at the previous event and on the Saturday morning the winds were forecast medium in a Northerly direction. The race officer made the decision that racing would take place in Weymouth Bay which pleased a lot of the sailors as it is always exciting and fun. Also, with the additional start for the split ILCA 4 fleet we knew we were all going to be in for a long day on the water.

With the first race for the ILCA 4 Female getting started just after the ILCA 7's we had wind speeds of 15-20 knots, there was a lot of space on the line as the start line had been set for much larger fleets which made the starts feel a lot more relaxed that what I was normally used to. I rounded the windward mark, just in the lead from Bronwen Thomas and held on to take the race win. For the ILCA 4's mark 2 is set lower than the rest of the fleets, meaning the reach across the top can be very broad and sometimes if the wind shifts slightly, it can very quickly just become a passing mark on a very long run down to Mark 3.

For Race 2 the winds really started to lift with 20 knots, gusting 30 knots. Isla Todd sailed brilliantly up the first beat to take the lead at the windward mark followed by Leah May, I was able to overtake Isla and Leah on the reach and extend a small lead downwind. On the 2nd lap, Leah dropped back slightly which resulted in Isla battling for 2nd place with Bronwen, this enabled me to pull away slightly to take the 2nd race win with Bronwen getting ahead of Isla to take 2nd.

For Race 3, the winds eased a little which brought the fleet closer together. I took my 3rd win of the day finishing ahead of Bronwen and Tatania Hazlewood who had a very strong race taking 3rd place moving her up the overnight leaderboard.

Racing finished quite late on Saturday and UKLA had organised with WPNSA for the sailors to have some food when we returned to shore which was very much appreciated.

For Sunday, the wind had turned to the classic Weymouth westerly direction and with the sun and reduced wind strength, it was going to be "Champagne Sailing". It was great to see so many of the ILCA 4 sailors really looking forward to getting back out on the water and enjoying some excellent racing and maybe we might even spot a Dolphin! The race officer made the call to run Sunday's racing in the harbour so we could get racing on as quickly as possible. The ILCA 4 Women's start again followed straight after the ILCA 7's and I managed to take my 4th and 5th race win with Tatiana beating Bronwen into 2nd place for race 4 and Nina Marsh getting in on the action taking 2nd place in Race 5 from Amelia Nuttall.

The final race of the event was very close, Nina took the lead at the windward mark with me in 2nd. Nina maintained the lead on the broad reach to mark 2 however I managed just to get ahead on the run. Nina kept pushing hard and on the 2nd lap was close behind, with the fleets overlapping it was important not to be covered by one of the big rigs and held on to the lead to make it 6 straight race wins for the event honours.

2nd place for the event went to Bronwen Thomas who sailed amazing all weekend and 3rd was Sara Goujan who had put in very consistent results in both the stronger and lighter wind conditions.

It was great that UKLA trialled the separate starts for the ILCA 4 Women and Men, my experience was racing was still very good and competitive, however the start lines were too relaxed in my opinion. I prefer for the ILCA 4 Male and Female to sail together at qualifier events as it creates very closer competitive racing and gives the sailors more experience of what start lines and racing would be like at the international events.

Thank you to all the Race team and onshore volunteers - we really appreciate your help putting on these events.

Also we must thank UKLA's terrific sponsors for their continuing support at the qualifiers. Many have been supporting us over many years through difficult times... thank you. Noble Marine, Ovington, Sailingfast and Rooster.

ILCA 4 Girls Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6PenaltyPts
1211078Jessica PowellDraycote Water Sailing Club‑111111 5
2221496Bronwen ThomasPPSA2223‑75 14
3201861Sara GoujonHunts Sailing Club‑774564 26
4198964Merry Lewis 54‑15647 26
5212233Amelia NuttallTenby Sailing Club887‑1033 29
6219091Jasmine Pillon‑SimpsonHailing Island Sailing Club999‑1296 42
7213052Isla ToddIsland Barn Reservoir SC33515‑1817 43
8184840Lottie EyrePoole YC4610‑141310 43
9209984Tatiana HazelwoodRoyal Hospital School/Royal Harwich Sail13532(DNC)DNC 44
10212109Nina MarshTenby Sailing Club17(DNS)DNC422 46
11193623Jemima ChappellParkstone Yacht Club10‑14121359 49
12195037Imogen CrossfieldWaldringfield111013710‑14 51
13214134Annabelle Hacker ‑1412681111553
14197629Leah MayIBRSC611141114(DNC) 56
15199495Alanna StarkieDerwent reservoir sailing club15(DNC)81788 56
16215413Holly Cole 12‑131191212 56
176622Peixuan SunRHS16(DNC)16181615 81
18176733Alice PopeRoyal Victoria YC18(DNS)DNC161513588
19213051Sylvie CarterSt Mawes(DNC)DNCDNC191716 94
20151126jasmine mcquillin (DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC 105

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