A strong contingent of Olympic class sailors continued to battle it out for a share of £50,000 in RYA grant money during the second round of the Holt RYA National Ranking Series last weekend

Over the weekend of the 26-27 March a strong contingent of Olympic class sailors continued to battle it out for a share of £50,000 in RYA grant money during the second round of the Holt RYA National Ranking Series 2004.

Over 60 sailors began rigging their boats under the shadow of the brand-new Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy due for completion in 2005. Funded by a joint partnership between Sport England and the Regional Development Agency, the project is pivotal to the London 2012 Olympic bid and providing future Olympic prospects with purpose built facilities for their training.

Six classes including the Europe, Mistral, 49er, Finn, Tornado, and 470 were racing in light winds over the weekend and on Saturday only one race was completed after a postponement waiting for the wind to fill in.

Waking up on Sunday the sailors were greeted with 8kts of wind which was enough to see three races completed, and a further four in the 49er class. This provided the sailors with some close racing and meant that there were enough races to constitute a series.

With such light airs, racing was heavily focused on tactics and spotting wind shifts and Europe sailor, Lizzie Vickers explained why this helped Chris Gill win the weekend in the class. “Its no surprise Chris won. He is a very intelligent sailor and there was not one wind shift that he missed all weekend.”

Chris from Portishead SC, who also won the Holt prize for the first non-funded sailor, beat Lizzie Vickers from Hayling Island SC who was second and winner of the first round, Andrea Brewster from Frensham Pond SC, finished third.

In the 470 class Neil Marsden, from Preston, and Graham Nelson, from Lincolnshire, were particularly intent on winning as they try and gain funding for the grade 1 events in Europe. After dropping only one race to Libby Greenhalgh and Rachel Larmen from Hamble SC the pair also won the Holt goody bag and are well on their way to Europe as Neil explained: “To gain funding for the grade 1 events we had to win this weekend so made sure we put a lot of effort in. It was great racing against the fleet but the training has paid off and our first event in Europe will be SPA Regatta in Holland.”

Greenhalgh and Larmen finished second on five points and Guy Tipton and Chris Tattersall from Oxford SC were third, despite starting before the gun and therefore being disqualified in the second race.

The 49er class was the biggest fleet racing over the weekend with twelve boats including a lot of newcomers to the class. Amongst the many sailors that have moved up from the RYA National Youth Squad and are making the transition into the Olympic classes, was the weekend’s winner, David Evans and Rick Peacock. With only two points separating the top four, winning was not an easy process for the pair, who won the event and the Holt prize. In second place were Steve Wilson and Tom Dawson and third were Ben McCrane and John Clegg.

By contrast the Tornado only had two boats racing, however, this provided spectators with great racing, watching the massive catamarans match race over the weekend. Racing soon became a family affair as brothers, Chris and Mark Field dropped only the first race to Simon Northrop and Ian Robertson to win the Holt prize and the second round of the Holt RYA National Ranking Series.

In the Mistral class the second round left the 11 sailors with tired arms as they pumped their way around the course. Athens 2004 Team GB member Nick Dempsey, from Weymouth, was untouchable winning the first three races therefore not needing to sail the last race as it could count as his discard. This gave Leo McCallin, from London, a chance to take line honours and second place overall. However, as Leo is already a member of the RYA Development Squad, Adam Pepelasis from Cambridge won the Holt prize as first non-lottery funded sailor, finishing third overall.

When asked what it was like racing back in home waters Dempsey said: “It’s great practice when I am at home and for the guys hoping to get into the RYA Development Squad the racing and experience from these events is invaluable.”

With a summer packed full of international events, including world and European championships, the third round of the Holt RYA National Ranking Series 2004 will take place on the 16/17 October. Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy will once again host the weekend for the Finn, Europe, 470, 49er, 2.4mR, Tornado and Mistral.



1, Neil Marsden/Graham Nelson (1,1,(2),1) 3 pts

2, Libby Greenhalgh/Rachel Larmen, Hamble SC ((3),2,1,2) 5 pts

3, Guy Tipton/Chris Tattersall, Oxford SC (2,(OCS),3,4) 9 pts


1, Chris Field/Mark Field ((2),1,1,1) 3 pts

2, Simon Northrop/Ian Robertson (1,(2),2,2) 5 pts


1, Nick Dempsey, Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy (1,1,1(DNF)) 3 pts

2, Leo McCallin ((3),3,2,1) 6 pts

3, Adam Pepelasis (2,2,(7),6) 10 pts


1, David Evans/Rick Peacock (2,1,(5),2,4) 9 pts

2, Steve Wilson/Tom Dawson (1,7,1,1,(9)) 10 pts

3, Ben McCrane/John Clegg ((10),2,2,6,1) 11 pts


1, Matt Howard ((2),1,1,1) 3 pts

2, Phil Laycock (1,2,(5),5) 8 pts

3, Mark Andrews ((3),3,2,3) 8 pts


1, Chris Gill, Portishead SC (2,1,(3),1) 4 pts

2, Lizzie Vickers, Hayling Island SC (1,(4),2,2) 5 pts

3, Andrea Brewster, Frensham Pond SC ((4),2,1,3) 6 pts