Draper and Hiscocks on top in RYA 49er Gold Series

World silver medallists Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks got off to a strong start at the opening weekend of the RYA 49er Gold Series at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (8-9 October), stretching ahead to 15 points clear of their nearest rivals after the first eight races.

The European champions managed just one race victory over the first weekend, but a consistent set of second and third place finishes pushed them ahead of fellow RYA Team GBR performance squad members Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, and Denmark’s Jonas Warrer and Martin Kirketerp, both on 32 points.

Morrison and Rhodes had a solid opening day on Saturday, finishing just two points adrift from Olympic bronze medallists Draper-Hiscocks, but their four races on Sunday produced two tenth places finishes, a first and a 13th (since discarded) to set them slightly off the pace.

GBR currently occupy seven of the top ten positions in the series rankings. Roger Gilbert and Olivier Vidal, currently in seventh place, scored a notable two wins in races five and six, while eighth-placed David Evans and Rick Peacock finished on a high, crossing first in the eighth and final race of the weekend. Paul Campbell James and Mark Asquith are in fifth, John Pink and Alex Hopson in sixth, and James Macintosh and Johnny Clegg in tenth.

Draper-Hiscocks may have made their mark in the Weymouth waters, but there’s still everything to play for on the closing weekend of the RYA 49er Gold Series (15-16 October), which is incorporated into the RYA Olympic Classes National Ranking Series. There are still three races to go in the 11-race series, with all races on Sunday 16 October scoring double points, which cannot be discarded, and should make for a fierce final day of competition.

The teams are fighting for a share of the ?2,500 prize fund on offer – ?200 of which will go to the highest ranked under 20-year-old team.