1200 junior sailors take to the water

Monster turn-out for the RYA Volvo Zone and Home County Championships

Saturday September 29th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

A record breaking 1,200 junior sailors from across the United Kingdom took to the water at nine different venues today for the opening of the 2012 RYA Volvo Zone and Home County Championships today.

Spells of bright sunshine bathed much of the country, however icy winds offered a wintery chill as a solid breeze graced all events resulting in some top racing and the majority of venues completing a full schedule of races on day one of the regatta.

The RYA Volvo Zone and Home Country Championships traditionally mark the end of the Junior racing season and the start of a hard winter's training. They are a key event for any young sailor wishing to be selected for the RYA Volvo Zone and Home Country squads, which are the first step on the pathway to Olympic Classes sailing.

In addition to the RYA High Performance Managers, sailors had the chance to showcase their talents in front of London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailors who visited the events to inspire the next generation of British sailors.

Team Volvo and Olympic silver medallist Hannah Mills visited the South Zone (WPNSA) while Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas made the trip to the North Zone to visit sailors at Rutland.

2012 Match Race girls Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor paid a visit to the South East Zone (Weir Wood Sailing Club, East Sussex) and the South West Zone (Chew Valley Sailing Club, Bristol) respectively, 470 Olympic silver medallist Luke Patience made the trip back to his homeland to visit Largs Sailing Club in Scotland, while Paralympic SKUD bronze medallist Niki Birrell went to the Welsh Championships at New Quay Sailing Club, Ceredigion.

Among those at WPNSA was Team Volvo and Skandia Team GBR Sailor Hannah Mills, who began her sailing career in Optimists much like the young sailors competing in the championships around the country this weekend.

The London 2012 Olympic silver medallist spent time talking to the young competitors in the dinghy park before they took to the water showing her what they can do.

Mills commented: “It’s been fantastic to see so many young sailors out on the water really enjoying their sailing – this is where it all started for me when I was young. It’s crazy to think that I was competing for an Olympic medal on the same waters only last month, so I hope that gives the young sailors the inspiration and motivation to do well and to really enjoy the sport of sailing.

“It looked like the youngsters were really relishing the conditions today and enjoying competing against their peers which is crucial at this young age. It’s great to be able to be involved with the future generation of top British Sailors. Events like this are so important and a great experience for the sailors. I’m sure all the other Olympic and Paralympic sailors who are visiting the different Zones around the country are also witnessing fantastic regattas with a really high standard of racing.”

Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, commented: “Today has been a really good day with challenging conditions really testing the sailors in a safe and supportive environment with plenty of coaches and RYA staff on hand to offer advice and support.

“The Team Volvo sailors have had a great welcome and have delivered some inspiring and insightful talks. They have given our young sailors a chance to really see what it takes, where it can take you, and perhaps most importantly the Volvo sailors all really reinforced what a great journey it can be and how much they have enjoyed it, irrespective of how far you progress or whether or not you come away with a medal it's a great game to be in and that came through loud and clear.”

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

The London 2012 Olympic sailing venue today hosted over 150 junior sailors competing in the Optimists, Toppers, Windsurfers and a regatta fleet down on the South Coast. The sailors battled it out in gusts of up to 15 knots as they completed their full schedule of races on day one of their Zone Championships. Two races were completed in the morning followed by two more races in the afternoon, making the most of the champagne sailing conditions out in Portland Harbour.

The South Zone sailors were given the opportunity to quiz London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Hannah Mills about her days when she used to compete in the Optimist and more recently about her Olympic campaign. Tomorrow, the young competitors will have Paralympic Gold medallist Helena Lucas in attendance, who will look to inspire the next generation of British Sailing as she gives a presentation and Q&A session at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.

Optimist (not including last race)
1st: Robbie King
2nd: William Heathcote
3rd Dan Atherton

1st William Birch-Tomlinson
2nd Chloe Barr
3rd Nathaniel Gordon

Regatta Fleet
1st Sophie Stoate
2nd Henry Heathcote
3rd Oliver Evans

Windsurfer 4.5
1st Joe Parrott
2nd Scarlett Croft
3rd Izzy Adcock

Windsurfer 5.8
1st Chay Tudberry
2nd Ben Tweedle
3rd Bethany Horsnell

Windsurfer 6.8
1st Alice Read
2nd Ross Warren
3rd Lucy Grayston

Windsurfer 7.8
1st Emma Wilson
2nd Daniel Wilson
3rd Lou Brown

RYA Volvo South West Zone Championship (Chew Valley Sailing Club, Bristol)

The RYA Volvo South West Zone Championships got off to the flyer today at Chew Valley Sailing Club as sailors completed a full schedule of back to back races across the Optimist, Topper and RS Feva XL fleets. The sailors were greeted with sunshine, variable and patchy five to ten knot wind speeds with some cloud appearing for the last race resulting in a slight drop in temperature for the final race of the day.

Stand out performances in the RS Feva XL fleet came from Elliott Wells and Jake Todd who won all races and had a particularly big lead in the first race. Optimists had a photo finish for first place in their second race which resulted in some spectacular racing.

The sailors, all wearing their Volvo buffs, were joined by Kate Macgregor who observed and chatted to many of the young competitors in the dinghy park and out on the water.

Macgregor said: “The level of sailing at Chew Valley Sailing Club has been excellent. The sailors had some great conditions today and it looked like they were all having such a fantastic time out on the water.”

The regatta fleet had a great day too with some silly races and chasing a big rubber duck, coached by Lynn Billows and Ellie Cumpsty.

1st: Ryan Bush
2nd: Jamie Harris
3rd: Ben Gray

1st: Paris Thomas
2nd: Luke Robertson
3rd: Jess Harding

RS Feva XL
1st: Elliott Wells/Jake Todd
2nd: Huw Nunn/Dominic Cotterill
3rd:Harry Barker/William Spurway

RYA Volvo South East Zone Championship (Weir Wood Sailing Club, East Sussex)

Over a 100 young sailors competing in Optimists, Toppers and RS Feva XL enjoyed 8-10 knots of breeze with spells of sunshine at Weir Wood Sailing Club today as all classes completed their three scheduled races in what was a thrilling opening day to the regatta.

To add to the excitement, the aspiring young stars of the future were joined by Skandia Team GBR and Team Volvo sailor Annie Lush. The former Match Racing World Champion and 2012 Olympian spoke to the young sailors about her sailing career and described the ups and the downs of competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Sailors were also given the chance to impress as the Skandia Team GBR sailor took to the water to give tips and advice across all three classes.

After spending the day out on the water, the 2012 Olympian said: “Today has been a great day of racing at what is such a great venue for the junior sailors to improve and develop within the sport. The racing across all three classes has been superb, sailors were given a good test of their racing ability with tricky shifts in wind and unexpected gusts throughout the day. I have no doubt I have just witnessed the next wave of Britain’s Olympic hopefuls which is such an exciting prospect.”

1st: Jack Lucas-Clements
2nd: Joshua Waha
3rd: James Hammett

1st: Patrick Croghan
2nd: Lucy Gates
3rd: Callum Dixon

1st: Flynn Davis/Niamh Davies
2nd: Courtney Bilbrough/ Orla Mitchell
3rd: George Tardrew/ Rex Farrant

RYA Volvo East Zone Championship (Alton Water Sailing Club, Suffolk)

Sailors at Alton Water Sailing Club revelled in bright sunshine and a westerly 13 knots of breeze. All classes completed the billed three races with the first race at 1200 and last race being completed at 1430.

The Topper and Optimist fleets were very open and extremely competitive with three different sailors winning each of the races leaving it all to play for as they enter the final day of the regatta tomorrow.

11 regatta fleet sailors enjoyed a comprehensive training session followed by some great racing. For most, today was the first experience in a regatta environment with each sailor relishing the conditions. The sailors were joined by talented sailors from GBR national squads that made some very competitive racing.

Paul Wren, RYA High Performance Manager, added: “It has been a perfect day’s racing with a lot of competitive racing throughout the fleets and pleasing to see many young sailors from the East Zone sailing well. We are all looking forward to meeting our London 2012 Paralympic Bronze Medallist Alexandra Rickham tomorrow.”

1st: Bethan Matthew
2nd: Alistair Grant
3rd: Arthur Brown

1st: Joshua Mullan
2nd: George Hunter
3rd: Richard Bettles

4.5 Open Class
1st: Tom Cunningham

5.8 Open Class
1st: Hugo Thomas

Bic Techno 7.8
1st: Galahad Wisbey

RYA Volvo West Zone Championships (Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club, Greater Manchester)

A dry and gusty day on Pennington Flash at Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club for the RYA Volvo West Zone Championships. An average wind speed between 15 - 16 knots with gusts of 23-25 knots throughout the day, with the safety fleet kept busy with several capsizes throughout the day.

Racing got underway on time at 12:00 with one race before a break for lunch, and two races back to back after lunch. Racing finished at 16:30 in time for the evening BBQ at the club.

Adam Russ from Redesmere SC leads the topper fleet at the half way stage, followed by fellow club mate Thomas Wallwork in second and Gareth Staples-Jones from the host club, Leigh and Lowton in third.

Archie Leckie found his form in the afternoon in the Optimist fleet, with race wins in race two and three, followed by Drew Wright and Chloe Felton in second and third respectively.

The regatta fleet did battle against the gusty conditions, with some fleet training, as well as completing three races.

1st: Archie Leckie
2nd: Drew Wright
3rd: Chloe Felton

1st: Adam Russ
2nd: Thomas Wallwork
3rd: Gareth Staples-Jones

The RYA Volvo North Zone Championships (Rutland Sailing Club, Rutland)

With Volvo for Life and Skandia Team GBR sailor Helena Lucas on the scene, the North Zone sailors were keen to impress. With a chilling 20-25 knots of breeze the conditions allowed for the full schedule of races to go ahead and some great sailing across all classes.

The sunny spells and strong winds enabled some stellar racing to take place out on Rutland Water which was pleasing for the RYA High Performance Mangers and squad selectors.

London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas was at Rutland to give the sailors some top tips, encouragement and inspiration in the morning briefing as well as answer questions on ‘how it felt to be a Paralympic gold medallist.’ The North Zone sailors will welcome Olympic windsurfing silver medallists Nick Dempsey who will show of his silver medal and provide the young sailors with advice and some expert guidance on how to improve within the racing arena.

1st: Arran Holman
2nd: Alex Philpott
3rd: Ben Shorrock

1st: Isabel Davies
2nd: Madeleine Watkins
3rd: Katie Davies

1st: Zak Morton
2nd: Freddie Cranfield
3rd: James Tulley

Laser 4.7
1st: Joe Woodley
2nd: Jamie Calder
3rd: Simon Weatherspoon

RS Feva XL
1st: Harvey Martin/Will Ward
2nd: Rebecca Lewis/Immi Slinn
3rd: Hannah Bristow/ Bobby Hewitt

4.5 Open Class
1st: Oli Mulhall

5.8 Open Class
1st: Paul Halliwell

Bic Techno 6.8
1st: Matt Carey

Bic Techno 7.8
1st: Ruben Lansley

RYA Volvo Welsh Youth & Junior Championships (New Quay Sailing Club, Ceredigion)

New Quay Sailing Club threw up some tricky conditions today for the Welsh competitors with a good 15-20 knot north westerly wind proving testing for some. The breeze gradually dropped and swung around to the south west as the day went on. The sailors completed five races today due to a forecast of 30-35 knots tomorrow.

Team Volvo Sailor Niki Birrell was there to inspire and went out on the water all day to give top tips to sailors, the Paralympic bronze medallist even jumped in a Regatta fleet Optimist sailors boat and sailed it back to the beach when the young competitor was feeling the cold.

Sarah Williams, RYA High Performance Manager for Wales, added: "With a strong forecast for Sunday we were keen to get as many races in as possible and what a fantastic day on the water. There was glorious sunshine and 118 sailors on the water in the strong breeze and the large swell. Challenging conditions but the sailors did extremely well staying on the water for six hours. The sailors were inspired and extremely excited to see Niki Birrel "Team Volvo Sailor" with his Bronze Paralympic Medal."

1st: Hatty Morsley
2nd: William Hall
3rd: Huw Edwards

1st: Megan Bowman
2nd: Harry Pain
3rd: Tobias Shapton

General Handicap
1st: Rowan Edwards/ Dan Blight (29er)
2nd: Danielle Rowe and Rachel Tilley (29er)
3rd: Josh Davies and Jake Davies (29er)

1st: Madelin Leary
2nd: Rhianwen Williams
3rd: Ethan Kneale

1st: Ed Pickett
2nd: Izy Miller
3rd: Theo Falmer

General Handicap
1st: Grace Barton (Terra)

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

The RYA Scottish Zones at Largs had some very challenging conditions with winds of 14 gusting 29 knots, however sailors were charged up and ready to do battle with the attendance of London 2012 Olympic silver medallists Luke Patience.

Patience said: “It was a cold and blustery day up north here in Largs but it was really amazing to see the kids braving the conditions, it’s the kind of conditions me and Stu love, so it was fantastic to see. There is some real talent up here in Scotland, it’s a great venue and I have witnessed some really superb sailing.”

Nick Scott, RYA High Performance Manager for Scotland, added: “Today was a challenging day and I am so impressed with the standard of sailors across the classes. The RYA Scotland Youth and Junior Championships is set for another great year and with the sailors inspired by Olympic Silver medallist Luke Patience as he shared his stories of a truly amazing summer. I have no doubt that someone in the room will be a future champion.’

1:Gillies Munro, Daniel Harris
2:Rory Neil Hunter
3: Lewis Marr, Aaron Murray

Bic Techno 5.5
1:Lsaac Lines

Bic Techno 6.8
1: Andrew Brown

Bic Techno 7.8
1:Tristan Levie

Laser 4.7
1: Lindsay Johnstone

1: Iain McLaughlan
2: Alex Still
3: Jack Aitken

1: Fiona Mackay
2: Hamish Taylor
3: Rebecca Bryant

1:Callum Rosie
2:Tom Graham
3: Anna Sturrock

RYA NI Volvo Youth Championships and NI Schools Cup In association with McCready Sailboats (Ballyholme Yacht Club, Co Down)

The first day of the RYANI Volvo Youth Championships saw a westerly breeze of 15- 20 knots and sunshine which provided the Junior sailors with testing conditions to compete in.

The Toppers, Lasers and 420s all completed three races; however the Topper 4.2s and Regatta fleet were held ashore due to the breezy conditions.

The stand out performance of the day came from Liam Glynn in the Toppers and Robbie Gilmore in the Laser Radials who both notched up three firsts to cement their position at the top of the leaderboard at the end of day one.

Richard Honeyford, HPM RYANI, commented: “Today was a good day on the water for the sailors, who dealt with the conditions well. The Race Officer, Robin Gray, did an exceptional job to get three solid races in and we hope to get racing for all the classes tomorrow. The RYA Volvo Sail for Gold Game proved a hit with the sailors ashore.”

1st: Liam Glynn
2nd: Tom Purdon
3rd: Emily Hill

Laser Radial
1st: Robbie Gilmore
2nd: Ryan Glynn
3rd: Sarah Eames

Laser 4.7
1st: Conor O’Farrell
2nd: Sean Ritson
3rd: Katie Kane



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