Hugh Styles and Tom Peel confirm Worlds Grant selection at Sail For Gold Regatta 18/10/06

This weekend at the Weymouth Olympic Classes Regatta Hugh Styles and Tom Peel won the National Ranking event selection series for a grant to go to the Tornado worlds.

The pair finished off the series with a 4th place at the Sail For Gold Olympic regatta. The grant will assist them in their bid for Olympic success towards the Tornado worlds in Argentina in December.

The Sail for Gold regatta was a three-day affair sailed in a variety of conditions. Friday was a very shifty and fickle day of racing with wind from NE round to SE and back again and from zero to 10 knots. Styles and Peel toughed it out in race one finishing 8th. But then turned on the skills for the second race with a storming first downwind taking 500m out of their opposition, which set them up for a solid 3rd place.

Saturday saw a north-easterly and a building swell. With the expectation of a left-hand advantage off the Lulworth cliffs on the north side of Weymouth bay, most of the leading players opted for the left side of the course in race 1. However, at mark 1 those on the right side were still even and Styles and Peel had to fight hard all the way round finally finishing 7th.

The team sailed the second and third races far better, taking great distance out of the opposition on the upwinds making great gains on the windshifts; this gave them 3rd in Race 2 and 5th in Race 3. So overall going into the medal race Team styles and Peel were 5th with opportunities to gain in the overall standings.

Sunday dawned windy (20-25 knots) from the south-east, one medal race scheduled inside Weymouth harbour for the top 10 boats on a three-lap, adrenalin-filled race. Teams sailed their massively powerful Tornado catamarans on the limit for the whole race, close to capsizing all the time. The start was crazy with half the fleet on starboard and half on port. Mark one was carnage with boats crossing within millimetres.

Then off on the downwind rollercoaster ride, kite up reaching speeds of up to 23.7 knots. Hugh and Tom fought it out in the leading bunch, until the Danish youngsters came crashing into them at the leeward mark. This dropped team Styles and Peel back, but they fought hard to recover and finish 5th in the race and secure 4th overall at the regatta. A pleasing result for the team, who would have much more to give, with the benefit of their own boat and new sails.

Overall Results
1 Leigh Macmillan Will Howden
2 Rob Wilson Mark Bulkeley
3 Johannes Polgar and Florian Sateholz
4 Hugh Styles and Tom Peel