A total of 12 teams are competing in this weekend’s RYA National Match Racing Final at Weymouth

The RYA National Match Racing Final got underway yesterday, hosted from the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy and sailed in Portland Harbour, under the watchful eye of HRH The Princess Royal.

Taking time out of her busy schedule HRH The Princess Royal, President of the RYA and a keen sailor herself, viewed the new plans for the sailing academy before taking to the water to view the racing along with the RYA Chairman George Clark and Chief Executive Rod Carr.

The 12 teams competing in the final have come through regional qualifiers to earn their chance to compete in the final for the national title and will be hoping to take home a share of the prize money.

The day began with the 12 teams (Peter Iszatt had to drop out due to work commitments) being split into two groups of six and sailing a round robin within their groups. Group B finished the whole of their round robin in the ten knots of breeze, with the top dog in the group being ‘Bear of Britain’ helmsman Mark Campbell-James (Chichester) who won all five of his races. His younger brother Paul (Chichester) finished in second place in the group, after dropping one race to his older brother, in a close race that swapped lead a number of times.

Only four races were completed in Group A, with last year’s national champion, Ian Williams (Weybridge, Surrey) on good form and taking an early lead in the group, winning all four of his races. Winning three of his races, Owen Modral (Lake District) came out second in the group, dropping just one race to Williams in what must have brought back memories for Modral and reminded him of last year’s finals.

The format for the second day of racing will be for Group A to finish off their round robin before going on to a second round robin, where the competitors will stay in the same groups but start at different ends from the first round robin in order to make the series as fair as possible. The top four teams from each of the round robins will then move through to the finals series on Sunday, where the format will be a replica of the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series which is due to start next month in New Zealand.

Event Director Robin Richardson commented, “I was really impressed with the standard of racing that I saw today. The matches were really close and a lot of the teams are improving as the racing progresses, which will make for some really tight racing all the way to the finals.”