RYA Volvo Zone and Home Country Championships

Competition around the UK for 800 of Britain's young sailing stars

Sunday September 25th 2011, Author: Matt Carter, Location: United Kingdom

This weekend has seen more than 800 of Britain’s rising young stars of the future compete across nine venues throughout the UK in the prestigious RYA Volvo Zone and Home Country Championships which came to an exciting finish on Sunday.

With the majority of RYA Zone and Home Country venues enjoying a full schedule of racing yesterday, the young stars of the future were yet again able to shine as the weather across the UK provided the sailors with great sailing conditions. The event in Wales was abandoned today due to gale force winds, while in Scotland strong winds meant only one race in each class apart from the windsurfers who relished the strong breeze with three races completed.

The Championship has proved to be one of the biggest and most popular events on the RYA Racing calendar and it traditionally marks the end of the Junior racing season. The RYA High Performance Managers have witnessed some incredible dinghy and windsurf racing from the nation’s young guns who have been competing for selection into the RYA Volvo Zone and Home Country squads as well as Championship honours.

The event has attracted a variety of sailors and supporters from sailing clubs across Great Britain and has given the sailors the chance to experienced big regatta racing without having to travel far from their home sailing clubs. This year’s Championships has welcomed competitors from current RYA National Junior and Zone Squads, as well as many new club level racers, who will have developed their racing skills and ability after venturing out onto the competitive circuit for the first time.

Racing has taken place across the nine RYA-supported Junior dinghy and windsurfing classes including the Mirror, Optimist, Topper, RS Feva, Cadets and the windsurfers on the Bic Techno using the open 4.5, and 5.8 rigs, and the Techno 6.8’s and Techno 7.8’s – classes have varied according to each venue.

All nine Zone and Home Country Championship events are sponsored by Volvo Car UK, and yesterday (Saturday 14 September) Zones welcomed an array of world class performers as Skandia Team GBR and Team Volvo for Life sailors made appearances up and down the country. Sailors from the RYA South Zone were the lucky ones however as they were treated for the second day running as Skandia Team GBR and Team Volvo for Life 2012 Olympian Lucy Macgregor today dropped in on the action.

Macgregor, who sails the Elliot 6m along with her sister Kate Macgregor and Annie Lush, has recently been selected to represent Team GB at the 2012 Olympic Games. Whilst enjoying the day’s action out on the water, McGregor also chatted to the stars of the future about her sailing career and how she progressed from club level to her first regional event and then onto elite level.

The Team Volvo for Life sailor and current Match Racing World Champion commented: “I’ve had a busy week having just found out the fantastic news that we have been selected for the 2012 Olympic Games, so it’s great to take some time out today and spend time with the young sailors and give them some coaching advice.

“It’s been a windy day today down at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, and challenging for the sailors here at the RYA Volvo Zone South Championships. I’m so impressed with the level of sailing from the youngsters, as well as their motivation to get out and start racing,”

Macgregor added: “It’s fantastic to see so many sailors taking part on the home waters of the 2012 Olympic Games. With less than a year until I am competing on the same race course for an Olympic medal, the sailors here have the perfect opportunity to develop their racing skills. Sailors really need to make the most of these types of regattas as they are the perfect stepping stone to achieve their sailing dreams.

“If sailors didn’t get the result they were looking for this weekend or missed out on selection for the RYA Zone squad like they would off hoped, it is important not to give up and to keep on trying as one day it will happen. The main thing is to just enjoy your sailing,” concluded Macgregor.

Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, commented: “Once again this weekend saw a huge array of the UK’s finest young sailing talent out competing for Championship honours and benefitting from a fantastic opportunity to learn with the guidance and support of RYA staff, top RYA coaches and some of the sailors who will represent GBR at the 2012 Olympic Games.

“As ever the weather posed some challenges and provided the ideal opportunities for sailors to test themselves and develop their skills and experience in a fun, safe and supportive environment. With the support of Volvo Car UK, 9 of the UK’s finest sailing venues and a huge number of volunteers we were able to lay on a cracking weekend which we hope the sailors will use as the ideal foundation for a winters training and another successful summer for RYA Team GBR’s Junior and Youth Programmes on the International stage.”

RYA Volvo South Zone Championship (Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy, Dorset)

The South Zone Championship hosted by the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy boasted the largest entry of the nine RYA Zones with over 260 sailors taking part.

The first day of racing in Weymouth on Saturday welcomed gusts of winds of up to 10 knots while the final day of the regatta was subject to stronger winds ranging from gusts of up to 15-18 knots. With a number of breakages to sailor’s masts early on as well as some early retirements, the gusts slowly decreased allowing for some extremely tense racing as Championship medals were all to play for.

All classes, apart from the Toppers who only managed two races out of the scheduled three, enjoyed another full day of racing before coming ashore to receive their medals which were awarded to them by 2012 Olympian Lucy Macgregor.

Matt Whitfield, 2011 Laser 4.7 Championship winner from Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan commented: “It’s been a really tough weekend of racing with some tricky weather conditions down here in Weymouth. I have had a really good weekend winning the majority of my races and have enjoyed racing against the other sailors from the South Zone. It has been great to see the Olympic sailors from Skandia Team GBR and it is really exciting to be racing on the same circuit which they will be on when competing at the 2012 Olympics next year.”

1st: Ross McFarlane (Castle Cove SC)
2nd: Niall Houston (Hayling & Mengeham)
3rd: Geoffrey Sherwood (HISC)

1st: Milo Gill Taylor (Spinnaker SC)
2nd: Vita Heathcote (Royal Lymington)
3rd: Joseph Burns (Spinnaker SC)

1st: Joanna Kalderon/ Ottilie Sprut (Itchenor SC)
2nd: Rosie Watkins/ Helena Watkins (Poole YC)
3rd: Isabel Davis/ Millie Moss (Itchenor SC)

1st: Esme Jones/Eliza Jones (Royal Torbay YC)
2nd: Kirsten Glen/Rosie Gorringe (Parkstone YC)
3rd: Aliya Jannaty/Aqil Jannaty (South Cerney SC)

Laser 4.7s:
1st: Matthew Whitfield (Penarth YC)
2nd: Alistair Goodwin (Haversham SC)
3rd: Hannah Muskett (Royal Lymington YC)

1st: Elliot Wells/ Jake Todd (HISC)
2nd: Jamie Smith/ David Brend (HISC)
3rd: James Eales/ Jess Eales (Royal Lymington YC)


4.5 Open Class:
1st: Chay Tudberry (Oxford SC)
2nd: Ben Tweedle (Emsworth SC)
3rd: Emma Ashman (Oxford Zoomers)

5.8 Open Class:
1st: Joshua Croft (Roseland Waveriders)
2nd: Georgia Savage (Bristol Corinthian YC)
3rd: Jack Bassett (Bristol Corinthian YC)

Techno 6.8:
1st: James Hatcher (Bristol Corinthian YC)
2nd: Isabelle Savage (Bristol Corinthian YC)
3rd: Ross Warren (Roseland Waveriders)

Techno 7.8:
1st: Emma Wilson (Christchurch Windsurfing Club)
2nd: Daniel Wilson (Christchurch Windsurfing Club)
3rd: Rachel Horton (Academy Allstars Poole)

RYA Volvo South West Zone Championship (Restronguet Sailing Club, Cornwall)

RYA Volvo South West Zone Championships had three great races for both of the main fleets today (Optimists and Toppers) in 10 knots of breeze. The sun came out to play today at Restronguet Sailing Club, which made a nice break from the constant rain yesterday (Saturday 24 September).

Sailors were eager to get going from the start today as the sun was shining and medals were there to be won. Both the Optimist and Topper fleets demonstrated some great racing from the start and all sailors highlighted there enthusiasm to impress the RYA High Performance Managers. The young sailors received a lot more coaching from the RYA High Performances Managers and coaches today enabling them to hone in on the skills needed to challenge at the top end of the fleet.

After yesterday’s visit from 2012 Olympian and Team Volvo for Life sailor Kate Macgregor, the youngsters all had a spring in their step which made for great ending to a perfect weekend of Junior racing.

1st: Benno Marstaller (Restronguet)
2nd: Alex Platt (Restronguet)
3rd: Jamie Harris (Bristol Corinthians)

1st: Ed Higson (Frampton On Severn)
2nd: Emma Phillips (Star Cross)
3rd: Luke Robertson (Sycsa/ Durleigh)

RYA Volvo South East Zone Championship (Bewl Valley Sailing Club, Kent)

The youngsters at Bewl Valley Sailing Club have had champagne sailing conditions all weekend as once again on the final day of the regatta they were greeted with sunny spells and gusts ranging between 12-15 knots. With all three races completed today (Sunday 25 September), a total of six races for the weekend regatta, the sailors did well to cope with some shifty conditions and perform to a very high standard of sailing.

With a few capsizes across all classes, sailors relished the conditions and enjoyed what has been an excellent regatta for the Junior sailors to experience big fleet racing aswell have access to the RYA coaches and High Performance Managers.

SE Region Overall Optimist Champion Ross Thompson from Royal Lymington YC, commented on his Championship win: “It’s been really good sailing here at Bewl Valley SC and it feels amazing to win the overall prize. I’ve really enjoyed myself and I think I’ve learnt quite a lot that I can use when I compete at the Volvo Gill Optimist End of Seasons Championships next month.”

In the Topper fleet, Felix Crother from Queen Mary SC finished top of the fleet and had this to say: “It’s really really shifty and gusty here at Bewl Valley Sailing Club but it’s nice to sail here. It feels good to win here and I’ve had a great weekend. I am so pleased to walk away the overall winner!”

1st Ross Thompson (FPSC/ RLym YC)
2nd Alex Smallwood (Wraysbury Lake SC)
3rd Emma Baker (Weirwood SC)

1st Felix Crother (Queen Mary SC)
2nd Hammish Streeter (HISC/ Bewl Valley)
3rd Harriet Ward (Queen Mary SC)

1st Jenny Smallwood/Jamie Webb (Wraysbury Lake SC)
2nd James Hutton Penman/Thomas Jayasekara (Corinthian Otters)
3rd Samuel Grade/Katie Prescott (Lymington Town/ HISC)

RYA Volvo East Zone Championship (Grafham Sailing Club, Cambridgeshire)

At Grafham Sailing Club, the host of the RYA Volvo East Zone Championship, another great day of racing was had as the weekend regatta came to an exciting finish. With the wind increasing from yesterday to Force 4 the sailors were all pumped up for the an exciting climax to their Championships.

Another three races were completed across all classes allowing for a full schedule of races to be had. With some massive gusts in winds, spectators were amused by some screaming reaches downwind from adrenaline hyped sailors!

James Tilley, RYA East Zone Event Director, commented: “We have seen some fantastic racing this weekend and it is a credit to the RYA Coaches for the amount of work that has gone into developing these young sailors. The conditions have been fantastic today and have contributed to a really good and exciting final day of racing.”

1st: Sam Yale/ Harry Chatterton
2nd: Alex Page/ Richard Townley
3rd: Ed Harris/ Faye Chatterton
1st Girl: Scarlett Anderson/ Ella Phelps

1st: Alistair Grant
2nd: Arthur Brown
3rd Overall & 1st Girl: Collette Bacon

1st: Joseph Mullan
2nd: Richard Bettles
3rd: George Hunter
4th Overall & 1st Girl: Georgia Grice


4.5 Open Class
1st Boy: James Barnwell
2nd Boy: Ben Barnwell
1st Girl: Eleanor Gibson

5.8 Open Class
1st Boy: Guy Carney
2nd Boy: Luke Williams
3rd Overall & 1st Girl: Zara Petts

Techno 6.8:
1st Boy: Alexie Murphy - Male

Techno 7.8:
1st: Boy: Henry Siefert
2nd: Overall & 1st Girl: Harriett Hudspith

RYA Volvo West Zone Championships (Blithfield Sailing Club, Staffordshire)

Sailors at the RYA Volvo West Zone Championships according to High Performance Manager, Chris Blackburn, have demonstrated an array of excellent racing skills which have contributed to a very tight and hardly fought regatta.

On the final day of two day regatta, sailors ventured out on to the water in search of glory at roughly 10.30am and completed three races per class, a total of six for the weekend. With an overcast sky and 10-15 knots of breeze gradually building throughout the day, stand out performances were seen in all fleets.

The performance of the weekend was from Hayden Griffiths who dominated with some excellent racing in the Topper class and the Labourne sisters who showed their steel in the Techno fleets.

1st: Bobby Hewitt (Leigh & Lowton)
2nd: Rory Bush (Shustoke)
3rd: DrewWRight (South Staffs SC)

1st: Hayden Griffiths (Leigh & Lowton SC)
2nd: James Chasty (Redesmere SC)
3rd: Zac Gibbons (Redesmere SC)

1st: Aran Holman/ Crispin Beanumont (Hollowell SC)
2nd: Will Robinson/ Joe Hills (Rutland SC)
3rd: Hannah Bristow/ Izzi Bristow (Leigh & Lowton SC)

4.5 Open Class:
1st: Oliver Eastwood (West Kirby)
2nd: Joseph Thomson (Pugney’s Pirates)
3rd: Ollie Mulhall (Windermere)
5.8 Open Class:
1st: Joshua Carey (Pugney’s Pirates)
2nd: Robin McCalister (Hollowell)
3rd: William Mooney (West Kirby)

Techno 6.8:
1st: Sarah Labourne (North Lincs)
2nd: Matthew Carey (Pugney’s Pirates)
3rd: Alice Butts (Northampton)

Techno 7.8:
1st: Emma Labourne (North Lincs)
2nd: Lewis May (North Lincs)
3rd: Ruben Lansley (North Lincs)

The RYA Volvo North Zone Championships (Derwent Reservoir, County Durham)

It was as good as the perfect weekend in County Durham as three races were completed on each day with lighter winds than yesterday greeting Derwent Reservoir SC for the final day of racing. Starting the day with 8-14 knots of consistent breeze to get the sailors in the mood, a large shift just after the start of the first race scampered a few of the sailors promising starts.

With some strong gusts and shifts in wind which gradually increased throughout the day to about 18-20 knots, the sailors battled against one another for the glory and fame of The RYA Volvo North Zone Championships. Completing two races back to back In the morning followed by one last race of the regatta In the afternoon, Derwent Reservoir was home to some tightly fought races with some Junior sailors who we will most definitely being seeing again in the not so distant future.

1st: William Hide/ Emma Clayton
2nd: Chloe Macauley & Isobel Leroux
3rd: Rachel Grayson & George Richards

1st: Tom Smith
2nd: Ben Settle
3rd: Aidan Rigby

1st: Joe Henderson
2nd: Sophie Otter
3rd: Ben Jennings

RYA Volvo Welsh Zone and Home Country Championship (Pwllheli Sailing Club, Gwynedd)

The sailors at Pwllheli Sailing Club for the second day running competed in some fierce conditions with the wind continuing on from yesterday with southerly 16-18 knots gusts. The sailors had to deal with some big swell as well as some impressive waves as they battled it out for Championships honours.

Racing begun first thing at the RYA Volvo Welsh Zone event where the young Welsh sailors went on to complete all three races, giving them six races under their belts for the weekend regatta. As the day went on the wind gradually began to build delivering gusts of 20 knots for the sailors to compete in.

The event received the biggest entry in as many years with a whopping 148 boats taking to the water. Impressive racing was seen across all classes which made for a great weekend of racing at Pwllheli Sailing Club.

1st: Tilley James (New Quay Yacht Club)
2nd: Aled Goddard (Clwb Hwylio Bala Sailing Club)
3rd: Mari Davies (Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli)

1st: Hugh Edwards (Port Dinorwic)
2nd: Sam Thomas (Cbyc)
3rd: Daniel Whiteley (Pdsc)

RYA NI Volvo Youth Championships in association with McCready Sailboats (Strangford Lough Yacht Club, Co. Down)

Racing on Sunday was abandoned as winds picked up to gusts over 26 knots and ceased to drop off. Following a postponement in the morning, the Race Committee decided to abandon racing for the day as forecasts showed no improvement.

In total four races were completed over the course of the weekend in 10-14 knots of breeze and challenging shifts coming off the shore on Saturday. Titles were decided with Robbie Gilmore, SLYC, taking the overall Youth Champion title, Liam Glynn, BYC, the Junior title and Ellen McCarlie, CAYC, the Lady's overall champion. Methodist College Belfast pipped Regent House to take the School's Cup Trophy.

The event had a record entry with 115 boats across 6 different fleets, giving the race officer plenty to think about each day as he endeavoured to get races in.

Topper 4.2
1st: Ellen McCarlie
2nd: Timothy Boomer
3rd: Fouad Ghareeb

1st: Liam Glynn
2nd: Conor O’Farrell
3rd: Sam Wilkinson

Laser 4.7
1st: Eoin Curran
2nd: Laura Gilmore
3rd: Craig Campbell

Laser Radial
1st: Robbie Gilmore
2nd: Peter Cameron
3rd: Ryan Glynn

Laser Standard
1st: Henry McLaughlin
2nd: Oisin McClelland
3rd: Michael Molloy

1st: Grace Clark

RYA Scotland Volvo Zone and Home Counties Championship (Largs Sailing Club, Largs)

Strong winds were the main focus of the day at Largs Sailing Club as the young sailors only managed one race per class, apart from the windsurfers who relished the strong 20-25 knots wind as they racked up three races on the final day of the Championships.

While yesterday (Saturday 24 September) saw the youngsters from Scotland enjoy glorious sunshine and light wind, today was completely different meaning that all classes expect the windsurfers completed four races over the course of the weekend.

The conditions were tough for the younger competitors at Largs Sailing Club but all showed tenacity and determination, resulting in some spectacular racing. For many of the sailors this event marked their first experience sailing on the sea and all handled it well.

Nick Scott, RYA Event Director, was pleased with the excellent racing yesterday allowing the talent to rise to the top and despite the frustrations of today hailed the event a success.

1st: Jamie Calder (Loch Tummel SC / Royal Forth YC)
2nd: Hamish Taylor (Clyde Cruising Club)
3rd: Fiona Mackay (Toward SC)

1st: Aaron Murray (Loch Earn SC)
2nd: Lewis Marr (Largs SC)
3rd: Ryan Macintyre (Lochaber YC)

RS Fevas:
1st: Sophie Thomson/Zoe Dupuy (Solway YC)
2nd: Katie Munro/ Beth Hurst (RFYC & FMBC)
3rd: Struan Donaldson

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