Sixty-five boats made the trip to Rutland Sailing Club over the weekend to compete in round four of the Holt RYA National Ranking Series 2002.

Sixty-five boats made the trip to Rutland Sailing Club over the weekend to compete in round four of the Holt RYA National Ranking Series 2002.

Unlike the event in Weymouth last month, the weather was kind and allowed six races to be sailed in light and fairly shifty conditions. With the Commodore of Rutland Sailing Club, Olympian David Wilkins, taking on the role of race officer, the sailors were in good hands.

As the sailors sat down to a meal on Saturday evening, courtesy of event sponsors Holt, points were close at the half way mark; In the 23 boat Finn class, double Olympic medallist and world and European champion, Ben Ainslie, was leading the pack, although it was not an easy ride as each of the three races on the Saturday were won by a different person; 470 European bronze medallists Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield were leading the 470 class with a 2,1,1 score line; Paralympic coach George Barker headed up the 16 boat 2.4mR class and Debbie Winstanley was at the top of the Europe class after day one.

Racing got underway on day two in light conditions ranging from 3-6 knots. In the Finn class Andrew Simpson raised his game further to score a second place followed by two bullets. Ainslie could not match the performance, scoring a first, second and sixth to put the two friends and rivals on even points after six races, the positions would be determined on count back. This meant that with a discard of a fourth place, Simpson won the event from Ainslie with Charlie Cumbley in third place.

Simpson commented, “The sailing conditions this weekend have been really tricky and made for difficult sailing as there are no waves and the wind was fluky. I am pleased with how I sailed and to win the event.” Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield continued their domination over the 470 class, scoring a further two bullets, which meant that they won the event with a race to spare. Nic Asher and Elliot Willis finished second with Helena Lucas and Jenny Heeley in third place overall and first women.

With four first places, Debbie Winstanley stamped her authority on the Europe class, winning by seven points from Laura Baldwin, with Chris Gill in third place.

The 2.4mR class was made up of both able and disabled body sailors including many team GBR sailors. George Barker scored a 1,3,3 on the final day to finish on tied points with Peter Cook and win the event on count back. Megan Pascoe, who attended the Disabled Sailing World Championships in September and was one of the youngest sailors there at fifteen, finished in third place and ahead of her team mates.

Holt kindly donated prizes to the first non-lottery funded sailors in each class, these went to Adam Cowling in the Finn class, Neil Marsden and Graham Nelson in the 470, Laura Baldwin in the Europe class and Val Millward in the 2.4mR.

Race officer David Wilkins commented, “In general, I think the event went well. Ideally, I would have liked a little more wind, but apart from once on Saturday and once on Sunday, we did not have to make big changes to the course. By and large, the winds were fair and probably not as bad as usual for an inland venue with light winds.”

The Holt RYA National Ranking Series concludes next weekend, 16/17 November, at Warsash Sailing Club for the Europe, 470, Finn, 49er and Tornado class.

To view the current ranking tables log on to the RYA web site; or contact the RYA Racing Department on 023 8062 7435 for more information.

Results 470 (11 boats) 1, Nick Rogers/Joe Glanfield, Royal Lymington/Exe (2,1,1,1,1,(13)) 6 pts 2, Nic Asher/Elliot Willis, WOBYC (3,2,3,(4),4,4) 16 pts 3, Helena Lucas/Jenny Heeley, WPSA (6,4,(7),2,5,2) 19 pts

Europe (15 boats) 1, Debbie Winstanley, Largs SC, (1,2,1,(5),1,1) 6 pts 2, Laura Baldwin, Spinnaker SC, (4,1,(7),1,3,4) 13 pts 3, Chris Gill, Portishead Y&SC, (2,5,2,2,5,(7)) 16 pts

Finn (23 boats) 1, Andrew Simpson, HISC, (3,1,(4),2,1,1) 8 pts 2, Ben Ainslie, RCYC, (2,2,1,1,2,(6)) 8 pts 3, Charlie Cumbley, TCYC/HISC, (4,(5),3,4,3,4) 18 pts

2.4mR (16 boats) 1, George Barker, Oxford SC, (1,1,(3),1,3,3) 9 pts 2, Peter Cook ((2),2,2,2,2,1) 9 pts 3, Megan Pascoe, Weir Wood SC, (3,3,(4),3,4,4) 17 pts

By Sacha Oswald, RYA