Britz and Hewitt take charge in the Spitfire on day two
It was a hat-trick of race wins for RYA Volvo Team GBR’s 2012 ISAF Youth Worlds gold medallist today as Tom Britz and his relatively new crew Abbie Hewitt shone on day two of the RYA Youth National Championships (Tuesday 2 April).
It was a case of snakes and ladders for many of the youth classes who each completed the full scheduled series of races today as the Firth of Clyde yet again threw up a day of Easterly breeze with shifty and challenging conditions across the four race course areas.
Britz, who was crowned 2012 Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Champion and SL16 class World Champion in the space of a fortnight last summer with Rupert White, posted three scintillating race wins to overtake yesterday’s leaders James Henson and Olivier Greber in the Spitfire class.
“We had a great day today in the tricky conditions,” he said. “It was all about sticking with the fleet and trying to stay in front when you can and catch up when you needed to. Three races wins was exactly what we needed as it puts us on joint points with the guys who got three bullets yesterday.”
“Our main aim is obviously to try and win the event but as we can’t qualify for the ISAF spot this year, it’s more about gaining some experience within this fleet. To be honest, with such a good fleet this year, it could have been any one of us winning the races today,” admitted Britz.
“Abbie and I haven’t been sailing together for too long so it’s nice to see some good results come in which shows that our partnership is working and that we are going in the right direction,” concluded Britz.
Kieran Martin was unstoppable out on the RS: X windsurfing course as last year’s champion stayed true to his form posting an excellent three bullets, adding to the two from yesterday and cementing his position at the top of the leaderboard. Joe Bennett posted a second and third, whilst discarding a ninth from race five leaving a six point gap between himself and Martin.
It was all change in the girls RS: X fleet with Noelle Finch leap-frogging yesterday’s leader and 2012 RYA Youth National and ISAF Youth Worlds gold medallist Saskia Sills.
Sills had a disappointing day by her usual standards posting 11-18-5, not being able to get to grips with shifts and leaving the door wide open for Finch who capitalised with a 3-6 and a discard of 10.
“Today we raced on a different race course to yesterday which provided different challenges but with the same shifty and gusty conditions so it was very interesting,” explained Finch.
“I’m happy with my results today and it’s obviously nice to finish the day at the top of the leaderboard on day two of the regatta.”
Finch continued: “We have still got a long way to go with a lot of races and with these conditions anything can happen. There are some very good windsurfers in the fleet this year compared to last year’s regatta with some good girls so I think it is going to be very tight. I’m just going to do my best and concentrate on getting myself around the course the fastest and we will just have to see what happens.”
Girl’s 29er pairing, Charlotte Hooper and Molly Brown revelled in the conditions scoring 1-1-2-4 from their four races today to impressively move from 11th to second in the 29er rankings.
“We are really happy with our results today,” expressed Hooper.
“It was our favourite sailing conditions today, even though it was very shifty, once you got the right side of the shift it was fine and we got some nice speed today.”
Brown added: “Yesterday we had a good opening day to the regatta and today is even better, we are really pleased with the two bullets. We just need to keep it up, we didn’t expect to start off so strong, we were aiming for top three girls so to be sitting second overall and first girls on day two is pretty cool. We usually start a regatta off really bad and work our way up so this is a nice surprise!
“We finished last year’s regatta third girls, so our aim at the end of the week is definitely to be first girls! If we continue to post consistent results and if the wind starts to drop then we should be in with a chance as we prefer the lighter winds.”
The 29er boys from New Zealand continue to lead the fleet, four points in front of Hooper and Brown after two firsts and two seconds today. Owen Bowerman and Morgan Peach have moved up two places to fifth after a 1-5-4-4 for today’s efforts.
In the Laser Radial fleet the shifty conditions played to Ellie Meopham’ s advantage as the Welsh sailor scored a 7-1-3 to top the overall Radial leaderboard, however, Meopham admits that there was an awful lot of luck involved in her three races today.
“Today was all about keeping your eyes out of the boat, looking for the gusts and then trying to predict which way they are going to lift you – it sounds pretty simple but I think there was a hell of a lot of luck involved! Meopham overtakes last night’s leader Edward Jones and admits it’s a nice feeling to be racing at the top of the fleet and to be beating the male competitors.
“It’s always nice to beat the boys,” laughed Meopham. “It’s very satisfying as it is something I’ve always wanted to do, so it’s a nice feeling right now. There are a few girls at the top of the fleet this week that are not too far off so it’s really nice to be racing with my friends at the front.”
Edward Jones continues to lead the way in the boy’s fleet ahead of Scotland’s Iain Mclaughlan in third overall. Ellie Cumpsty is fourth overall, second girl, after finishing her day with a race win. In the Larger rig, Michael Beckett continues to dominate the Standard fleet opening up a staggering 12 point gap over second and third placed Jack Preece and Andrew Green.
This week the 420 fleet looks set to go right down to the wire with a marginal five point gap separating the boats from first and fifth. Tim Riley and Luke Burywood came out on top for the second day running posting a 8-2 in the first two races, however in the last race they dropped back to record a 16th, however, with the first discard coming into play it allowed them to remain on top.
Scott Wallis and Josh Voller have leapt up the table after discarding their 10th from the opening day, and scoring two bullets and a seventh today. Annabel Cattermole and Bryony-Bennett Lloyd are comfortably occupying top girls spot for the second day running, sitting in third overall.
With the Radial and 29er classes splitting into a Gold and Silver fleets tomorrow the top sailors will go head-to-head for the first time at the event as the competition hot’s up for day three at Largs Sailing Club.
Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, said: “Today saw another glamorous day in sunny Scotland! Much warmer, but with lighter breezes than yesterday. Thankfully the Easterly established quickly which set the tone and dictated the priorities for the day.
“The sailors leading the fleets have all been pretty astute, getting their heads round the shifty conditions which really are a challenge particularly as it often necessitates pursuing the gains a bit more aggressively which is somewhat contrary to the typical strategy of carefully managing the risk, sticking to the middle and try to remain consistent.”
Truswell concluded: “I am particularly pleased to see the girls doing so well across the fleets, as I know Sarah Ayton will be rooting for the them to stay on top for the end of the week when she arrives tomorrow! We are hoping to mix things up a bit tomorrow as we start to get to the business end of the regatta, the plan is to expose the 420 and Spitfire sailors to some different conditions by taking their course North of Cumbrae and give them an opportunity to stretch their legs on a bigger course which will be interesting.”
Racing is set to resume at 10.55am tomorrow (Wednesday 3 April). Conditions are set for a similar strength and direction as today, approximately 7 – 10 knots easterly.
Article Author Matt Carter 2/4/2013 21:47
Photo © Marc Turner