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Smart decisions rewards sailors on Day 2


The second day of the RYA Youth Nationals (Tuesday 7 April) had a slow start before an action packed day of racing at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.

The forecasted easterly wind was light and variable in the morning but increased and stabilised as the day went on. The 29er fleets launched early and completed their three scheduled races in the harbour while the others waited for wind in the bay. Eventually, the wind did come in and the Laser fleets started racing at 13.30. The 420s and Spitfires started racing at 14.00 in the harbour, after unsuccessfully waiting for wind further out.

It was a day for smart calls on the water, with what sailors described as light, patchy and shifty winds across the courses.


After three hours of waiting for wind in the bay, the 420 class returned to the harbour for two races in the afternoon. Sarah Norbury (South Staffordshire SC) and Mari Davies (Pwllheli SC), defending girls Youth National Champions, explained the different mind-set that was needed following the change of course.

“We had to think on our feet of what sailing in the harbour would give us that was different to sailing in the bay; today involved a lot of thinking,” said Davies.

After a successful day, they are now first girls and third overall, but an experienced Norbury remains focussed on the difficult task at hand: “It was nice to get two solid scores on the board today. We’re not taking anything for granted as everyone’s racing well, so we just need to keep at it and hopefully get some good races in tomorrow.”

So far the week is going the right way for Martin Wrigley and Marcus Tressler, who take the leader’s yellow sail spots, with a five point advantage, from Max Clapp (Royal Southern) and Ross Banham (Bewl Valley SC).

Wrigley explains: “We are happy with the day. We went into the event wanting to win and so far that’s all going to plan, but there is a long way to go still though.”

With only three races on the board for the 420 class the title chase is far from over.


The Lasers spent the first part of the day playing the waiting game. After three hours, the race committee commenced with a race in five knots of wind across the bay course.

Michael Beckett (Solva) led from the start but had a small match race towards the end with rival Henry Wetherell (Beaver SC).

Beckett talked us through his race win: “I was able to lead the whole way round, however Henry was catching up after his bad start. We had a little match race with just the two of us towards the end, it was quite tense but I just about managed to hang on and win by a couple of boat lengths.”

The pair seem closely matched wherever they race. Beckett finished just three places ahead of Wetherell at the Princes Sofia Trophy in Palma last week.

Although their rivalry is a healthy one describes Beckett. “I’m a year older so was quite a long way ahead of him in September, then he turned full-time and has been catching me ever since. He finished just behind me at Palma but it’s great to race someone of such a high standard and it’s a healthy rivalry.”


Karyna Manuel (Grafham Water) is currently storming the Laser Radial girls’ fleet, finishing second in today’s only race she now leads by 11 points to Hanna Brant (Oxford SC) and Ellie Brown (Beaver SC) in second and third respectively.

Manuel took the advantage at the start, however lost out to Liz Sherwood (HISC) down the final run as the breeze filled in slightly on the right hand side.

Anything can happen over the next three days, says a modest Manuel: “There is a long way to go still, I just need to keep doing what I am doing and not change anything or do anything silly.”

Despite an impressive performance by Daniel Whiteley (Pwllheli SC), the points at the top of the Laser Radial boys’ fleet remain close. Whiteley battled his way through for line honours, taking advantage of the ‘pockets of breeze’ on the bay course.

“I had an awful start but managed to sail out of it, I was tenth at the first windward and had a good run down and took the lead from the second windward mark all the way to the finish.”


Local sailor, Sam Barker (Castle Cove SC) and Victoria Akhurst (Pwllheli SC) displayed their expert knowledge of the harbour by winning both races today. Barker, defending RYA Youth National Champion enjoyed the day of tricky conditions.

Akhurst explained their day: “In the first race we had a good start although didn’t lead round the first mark, we got the lead downwind and kept it all the way to the finish. The second race had similar oscillating winds but we led from start to finish.”


Bobby Hewitt (Leigh & Lowton SC) and Harvey Martin (Ogston SC) top the overnight standings in the 29er class. The 15-year-olds once again showed their light winds prowess, winning the first two yellow fleet races. Sutton sailors Dan Venables and Patrick Keech are just two points behind as the event now splits the fleets into gold and silver.

A successful day sees Rowan Edwards (Pwllheli SC) and Daniel Blight (Port Dinorwic SC) jump up the leader board in impressive style. The pair moved from 16th to third after three top five results, including a win in the second race.

Both were pleased with their performance said Edwards: “We had a good day, we just kept it simple. We got good starts and held out on the long tack, then just tacked on all the right shifts.”

After a steady day of racing, Anna Prescott (HISC) and Eve Townsend (Emsworth/HISC) are happy to be leading the girls and sitting in fourth overall.

Townsend: “It’s really good being in the top three girls, that’s our aim and we are just looking to be consistent over the week.”


Emma Wilson (OTC) celebrated her 16th birthday today with a win in the last race, becoming the only person to beat brother Daniel so far this week.

“It was a really good day today, but it was pumping conditions for all three races. So after around four and a half hours on the water, I will probably be celebrating my birthday sleeping!”

James Hatcher (Bristol Corinthian YC) echoed Emma’s feeling that the conditions were tough, but he was happy with his scores after a not so good opening day: “In the second race I had a real battle with Daniel Wilson on the last downwind and, fair play to him, he beat me by just half a board length. It was hard work, with light winds, which lightened towards the end of the day, meaning plenty of pumping.”

Despite being overcome by his sister in the last race, Daniel Wilson (OTC) remains dominant and has a six point lead going into Wednesday.

The warning signal for the first race tomorrow is at the earlier than scheduled time of 10.25am for the 420 and Spitfire fleets. You can watch the live streaming from the Harbour course on the sportsXstream and SailRacer website. GPS tracking will also be live for all courses.

You can follow the event and see the action unfold on the British Youth Sailing Team Facebook page and on Twitter at @RYAyouthracing. Share your preparations and comments with us using #RYAYouths.


Article Author RYA 7/4/2015 20:38


Photo © Paul Wyeth/RYA


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