A record breaking entry


390 sailors prepare to descend on Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club for the RYA's premier Youth Racing event

Next week will see a record number of the nation’s top Youth sailors lock horns out on the Welsh waters of Cardigan Bay, hosted by Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club, for the chance to be crowned RYA Volvo Youth National Champion 2012.

With the entries now closed, the annual regatta which is the premier event on the RYA’s Youth Racing calendar, will welcome the largest number of sailors it has seen in the event’s history. A staggering 390 dinghy, catamaran and windsurf racers across six Youth classes will compete out on the three race courses for Championship honours and the chance to be selected to represent RYA Team GBR at a range of International Competitions, World and European Championships in 2012.
RYA Volvo National Youth Squad, Transition Squad, sailors who are making the step up from the RYA Junior Squads plus club sailors from across the country are all making the trip to North Wales to compete at the pinnacle event on the Youth racing circuit. RYA Volvo Team GBR which cumulatively had a fantastic year in 2011 winning a total of 60 medals at World and European Championships will also be in attendance looking to stamp their authority against the international competitors being welcomed to take part for only the second time in the event’s long history.
Racing will be held for boys in Laser Standards, girls and boys in Laser Radials and Neil Pryde RS:X 8.5, and for all-boy, all-girl or mixed crews in 420s, 29ers and Spitfire catamarans.
The Laser Radial class sees the most entries this year with 119 competitors registered to compete. This class is tipped to be one of the most competitive with a whole host of top sailors challenging for gold and the coveted single male and female spot to represent RYA Volvo Team GBR at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in Dublin in 2012.
Rheanna Pavey, 18 from Ipswich, last year’s victor will once again be a firm title contender and be will be determined to confirm selection for the opportunity to better her result at the ISAF Youth Worlds. She will however face strong competition from amongst others, Fishguard Bay Yacht Club’s Ellie Meopham who finished third in the female fleet at last year’s event.
In the highly competitive Laser Radial male fleet the opportunity for a new star to be born is calling out as last year’s top competitors have all moved up into the Laser Standard. Henry Wetherell,15 from Beaver SC, and Micky Beckett, 16 from Solva SC, who both finished outside the top ten at last year’s event will be amongst the front runners with their sights firmly set on a podium finish. To add to the excitement of the this highly charged Radial fleet the event will also be contested by competitors from New Zealand, Bermuda, Norway and Sweden.
The Laser standard fleet will miss out on last year’s champion and Skandia Team GBR’s Alex Mills Barton, as well as 2011 Laser Radial stars Cameron Douglas and Elliot Hanson due to all three competing at the ISAF World Cup event Princess Sofia in Palma, Spain. This therefore leaves the door open for one of the 14 promising sailors to stake their claim at this year’s event.
The 29er fleet with a record breaking 73 boats entered will no doubt provide some thrilling sail racing out on the waters of Cardigan Bay. With last year’s champions now making their mark in the Skandia Team GBR’S Development programme, a handful of sailors will be knocking on the door of the ISAF Youth Worlds selectors come the end of the week.
Leading the charge will be Rutland Water Sailing Club’s Ian Payne, 17, and his crew Chris Berry who finished last year’s event at Hayling Island in fifth. More recently the duo posted a fourth at the 2012 Eurocup in Spain and cruised to event victory at the 29er Inlands at Grafham Water SC. Hot on their tails will be Truro sailor Jack Hawkins, 16, and his crew Christopher Thomas, 17, along with Chichester Sailing Club’s golden girls Vikki Payne, 16, and Stephanie Orton, 17.
The 420 class boasts a selection of star sailors with extremely tight racing anticipated in both fleets. In the girls fleet contesting the event will be last year’s champions and ISAF Youth Worlds representatives Jess Lavery and Georgie Mothersele. The Emsworth SC duo finished the ISAF Worlds within the top ten which was a fantastic achievement for a young pairing in such a highly competitive 420 fleet. The girls then went onto claim a silver medal at the 2011 Open 420 Junior European Championships in Nieuwpoort, Belgium and recently finished second at the Spring Championships, behind Royal Southern Yacht Club’s Annabel Vose/Kirstie Irwin who are also a pairing to watch out for, Annabel being the current Ladies World Champion with previous crew Megan Brickwood.
Paving the way in the 420 boys fleet, once again are the 2011 regatta champions Craig Dibb and Charlie Cox who will have their work cut out against fellow south coast sailors Tim/Ed Riley, both from Warsash SC,  and Emsworth SC’s Harry Derbyshire and his crew Tom Lovesey from Warsash SC.
The RS:X Windsurfing class is set to be one of the most exciting and competitive fleets, thanks to a host of international successes in the Windsurfing classes recently it will be boasting World and European medallists in abundance. Leading the pack in the boys fleet is Carsington’s Kieran Martin who was the 2010 IOC Youth Olympic Games Bronze medallist, 2011 Techno 293 Windsurfing World Champion and RSX U17 Youth European Champion. The 16-year-old finished last year’s event in third and is tipped for great success, but at this year’s event he will face strong competition from amongst others the U20 Youth Worlds silver medallist and U17 European bronze medallist Joe Bennett.
In the RS:X girls fleet, the battle between Clevedon’s 2011 RSX U17 World and European Champion Noelle Finch and last year’s RYA Volvo Youth National Champion and RS:X U20 Youth Worlds bronze medallist Jade Rogers is tipped to set hearts racing as the pair compete for the RS:X crown.
Meanwhile, in the open multihull Spitfire class 2011 ISAF Youth Worlds representative Rupert White, 17 from Brightlingsea SC, and his relatively new crew Tom Britz from Lymington, who competed in the Laser Radial at Hayling Island in 2011, will no doubt be dominant in the hunt for success. White has a wealth of experience in his own right and also previously competed with three time ISAF Youth World veteran Nikki Boniface, within their partnership the duo won a bronze on her final attempt in 2011.
Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, commented: “I am absolutely delighted to see such a fantastic turnout for the 2012 RYA Volvo Youth National Championships at Pwllheli. In a year where understandably a huge focus will be on our Olympic team, the turnout, pedigree and number of medals already boasted by the huge number of sailors taking part is a great testament to the strength of our Junior and Youth programmes and perhaps more importantly to the fantastic work done by an army of skilled, enthusiastic and motivated volunteers within our clubs and class associations.
“The sailors have been working hard all winter and I am looking forward to seeing how they fair against each other, and also the International teams attending the event who we are very pleased to welcome to our event once more. This event is a great opportunity to showcase the sailors skills, develop their competition routines and experience and thereby ensure they are best prepared to achieve success on the international stage this summer.”   
John Derbyshire, RYA Racing Manager/Performance Director, added: “The bumper turnout, particularly given the current economic climate, is fantastic to see and a real positive for the sport of sailing. It’s a credit to the sailing club that they are able to hold such a large event given the current developments which are taking place- clearly the large investment of £8.3 million that the Welsh Assembly Government has put into enhance the facility for the future of the sport is indicative of what a fantastic venue this is and we are grateful to the club for ensuring a full sailing programme can still take place while these enhancements are underway.”
This year Sarah Webb Gosling OBE, who progressed through the ranks to represent Britain twice at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in the Laser Radial and went on to win two consecutive Olympic gold medals at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, will be among the panel of RYA National Youth Squad and ISAF Youth Worlds selectors at Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club.
The RYA Volvo Youth Racing programme receives generous support from title sponsor Volvo Car UK and official clothing supplier Henri Lloyd. As part of their joint support for the annual event Volvo and Henri Lloyd are giving away four Henri Lloyd and Volvo Youth Branded Rucksacks. Head to the respective Facebook pages for more information. Entrants can enter online HERE.
For more information on the event or to follow all the live action from the Championship via the official RYA Volvo Youth Nationals blog visit, or follow RYA Team GBR on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@YouthNationals).

Article Author Matt Carter 26/3/2012 16:14


Photo © Paul Wyeth/RYA

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