Racing got underway yesterday (2 April) at the Volvo RYA Youth Championships and Trials at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy.
Although sailors could not see the other side of Portland Harbour first thing in the morning, the fog lifted to reveal a pleasant day with a good breeze of 8-12 knots.
In the highly competitive 31-boat 29er class, it was the girls who dominated the fleet proving to the boys that they could hold their own in these conditions. Pippa Wilson, who has recently made the transition from the cadet class to the 29er, and crew Jenny Marks dominated the fleet, sailing well in the tricky conditions to take two wins, a fifth and a second place.
“We are aiming on finishing top girls this week, and representing GB at the Volvo ISAF World Championships in Canada,” the girls commented. “The competition is of a high standard and was a hard fleet to enter into as we have only been sailing together for three months, but we are focusing towards putting in a consistent performance over the week.”
In the Laser Standard fleet the competition is extremely high with any of a number of sailors capable of winning the championship and the coveted honour of representing Great Britain at the ISAF World Championships. After scoring a fifth place at the end of last year at the Europa Cup in Croatia, Charles Baillie-Strong carried on his good form to win the first race of the day followed by a fifth place and another first place. Although rival Laser sailor Nick Scott could not match Baillie-Strong on first places, he sailed smart and ensured he finished in the top three in each race to even Baillie-Strong on points at the end of the day.
Former Olympian and GBR Challenge Helmsman Andy Beadsworth, was on the water watching the Lasers race. “The event has got so much bigger since my day, and it is great to see so many young sailors competing at such a high standard. The sailing competition and tactics at the front of the fleets were extremely impressive, but also the standard at the back of the fleet showed that these sailors have loads of potential. Hopefully, some of the sailors that have been competing this week, will be defending the America’s Cup in years to come.”
In the impressive 117-boat Laser Radial class, the fleet was split into two flights, each flight will sail a maximum of six races and then the top 50 per cent will make up the gold fleet and the rest the silver. After day one, the scores are combined, Nick Thompson leads the fleet from James Tilley. 2001 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships bronze medal winner Natalie Lloyd had a good day, scoring a sixth, fifth and a first place overall to put her at the top of the girls leader board and giving the boys a run for their money.
Out on the 420 race course, Scottish sailors Elvind Karlsen and crew Haakon Karlsen won the first race, but at the end of the day the consistent sailing from Oliver Dix and crew Philip Lasko with a 3,4,3 scoreline put them at the top of the leader board after day one by seven points from the Scottish pair.
Top girls of the day were Charlotte Savage and Maia Walsh, who were sixth in the first race of the day and followed it up with a 19th and a fifth to end day one in ninth place overall.
Ben Mansfield and Ben Hicks lead the Hobie 16 class from Ben Cutler-Sharp and Rupert Stock by only one point after scoring a two first places and a fourth.
(after day 1)
1, Charles Baillie-Strong 2, Nick Scott 3, Luke Cross
1, Nick Thompson 2, James Tilley 3, Giles Scott
1, Natalie Lloyd 2, Anneka Smith 3, Colette Blair
1, Pippa Wilson/Jenny Mark 2, Edd Clayson/Adam Clarke 3, David Evans/Andrew Skubala
1, Oliver Dix/Philip Lasko 2, Elvind Karlsen/Haakon Karlsen 3, Iain Watson/David Putt