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GP14 National Youth Championship 2024 at Winsford Flash Sailing Club

by Rosanna Joyce with additions from Zoe Goodden 13 Jun 05:47 BST 31 May - 1 June 2024

The event started with a day's training from Neil Marsden, on Thursday 30th May. Only two boats were free to attend this due to revision and other events, Emily Page and Matthew Williams and Zoe Goodden Fynley Monks.

The wind blew up and reaped havoc on those on the water, with over 20 capsizes between the two boats, one courtesy of Mr. Marsden himself! Neil then kept dry by popping back into the rib and left the sailors to right the boat. Neil's expert training helped them to develop skills for high wind sailing, righting a capsized GP, improved spinnaker handling and lots of tips for sea sailing.

On Friday 31st May, the bright sunshine welcomed 7 entries to Winsford SC for the International GP14 National Youth Championships 2024. With a gentle breeze ranging from around 7 to 15 knots and a jubilant atmosphere, the conditions couldn't have been more perfect (well maybe with a few less wind shifts!). The wind direction tested John Close, the race officer of the day, with a north westerly breeze, coming in straight through the trees, but he handled it perfectly with his expertise and set some fantastic courses- allowing us to battle it out with some incredibly close racing.

The event began with race 1 on the 31st of May. The sun was shining. The course was set. The wind was blowing, and the competitors were ready. After storming through the start Finley Waterhouse & Nina Martin (Budworth SC) took an early lead at the windward mark, with Finley Monks & Zoe Goodden (Winsford Flash SC)hot on their tail; with Rosanna Joyce&Chris Hampshire (Budworth SC and Ripon SC) and Emily Page & Matthew Williams (Budworth SC) not far behind.

A couple of laps later, Fin & Nina were still storming ahead in first place and after a close battle Emily & Matthew managed to pass Finley & Zoe. A slight spinnaker mishap sent one boat back to the shore. Fin and Nina ended the first race with a triumphant 1st, closely followed by Emily and Matthew in 2nd and Finley and Zoe in 3rd.

After filling up on some scrumptious shepherd's pie from the galley, the sailors were all fuelled up, ready for races 2 and 3, back-to-back in the afternoon.

Race 2 began with a speedy start from Jessica Skelding and Harriet Dumbleton a new pairing for the event (Winsford Flash SC and Nantwich and Borders SC), taking an early lead but with Emily and Matthew snapping at their heels. Emily and Matthew managed to play the shifts well to their advantage, managing to creep their way past Jess and Harriet, finishing in 1st place, and after a close fight for 3rd place Rosanna and Chris pipped Fin and Nina to the post leaving them behind in a respectable 4th place.

That led us onto the final race of the day with the results of Emily and Matthew winning another, Rosanna and Chris 2nd, and Fin and Nina 3rd.

Day 2 began with slightly less breeze than the previous day, but a similar shifty wind direction, testing us all.

Race 4 started with a bang, Jess and Harriet took an early lead with Emily and Matthew following not far behind, and the rest of the fleet battling it out. However, a couple of laps in and this was all set to change; coming around the leeward mark, Rosanna and Chris and Fin and Nina got a joyful wind shift, lifting them to the windward mark, surpassing the two leading boats, leaving Rosanna and Fin to battle it out.

But you thought this was going to last? Well, you thought wrong. After some incredible close racing, Fin and Nina bagged themselves a first place and Emily and Matthew, and Jess and Harriet came back fighting finishing the race in 2nd and 3rd.

This took us onto the 5th race straight away with Emily & Matthew returning to 1st, Fin & Nina 2nd, and Rosanna & Chris 3rd (after a few penalty turns). We then headed back to shore for a tasty burger and got ourselves ready for the final race of the event; and it was all to play for. Emily & Matthew kept the 1st place bibs on, Fin and Nina the 2nd, and the 3rd place bibs were handed over from Jess & Harriet to Rosanna & Chris for the final race of the day and the event.

As expected, the competitors did not disappoint with some intense racing; Fin and Nina came in fighting for that 1st place, leading the beginning with their rivals Emily and Matthew sliding into 4th, Jess & Zoe in 3rd, and Rosanna & Chris hot on their tail in 2nd. Rosanna & Chris successfully snuck their way past Fin & Nina on the reach and continued to stretch the lead out. But Fin & Nina didn't go without a fight as they made some big gains on the downwind later on but wasn't quite enough to win that 1st place back. Rosanna & Chris ended with a triumphant 1st, Fin and Nina a respectable 2nd, and Jess and Zoe a successful 3rd.

The overall results saw Emily Page and Matthew Williams (Budworth SC) becoming the International GP14 National Youth Champions for 2024, Finley Waterhouse and Nina Martin (Budworth SC) just one point behind finishing Runners up, Nina won the South Staffs SC trophy for leading female crew. Rosanna Joyce and Chris Hampshire (Budworth SC/Ripon SC) in 3rd. The Hazelock Cup for leading female boat was awarded to 4th place Jessica Skeling and Harriet Dumleton, (Winsford Flash SC & Nantwich and Borders SC). Lottie Hough was the only under 16 helm sailing with Lily Redstone from Winsford Flash SC. Congratulations to Robin Taylor and David Lucas (Trimpley SC) for scooping the Endeavour prize.

Finley Monks said "As a first time sailing the GP, I found the experience unique and exciting. The event made a great first impression to me of the GP and I can't wait for another go!"

With four sailors competing in the Allen GP14 Worlds this August in Plas Heli, Pwllheli and Zoe Goodden and Jon Close as part of the race team it is promising to be a fantastic event.

Overall Results:

PosFleetSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts

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