The final weekend of racing of the 2017 RYA Olympic Classes Spring Series saw sailors put to the test on Saturday as gusts reaching 23 knots greeted the competitors, whilst Sunday’s concluder rewarded sailors with glamour conditions at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (20-21 May).
Both event honours and positions in the overall Spring Series were at stake across six Olympic class fleets as well as the Nacra 15 youth fleet racing alongside their seniors in the Nacra 17 event for the first time.
Some 51 boats were in action in Portland Harbour, with many newcomers and rising talents using the opportunity to test their mettle against seasoned campaigners and British Sailing Team squad members.
Finn rising star Cameron Tweedle led from the outset as he took four bullets to see him scoop both the weekend and series victories. Cameron’s father, Jon Tweedle, proved he could give his son a run for his money after winning a race on Sunday to wrap up his event fourth. Callum Dixon finished the series second ahead of Markus Bettum.
Counting seven firsts, Sam Barker and Cara Jones racked up an enviable scoreline to win the event with an 11-point cushion. Barker, who sailed with Jess DArcy in February’s opening event, also took the series crown. Nacra 15 duo Bobby Hewitt and Freddie Simes finished second in the final Spring Series event ahead of Alex Philpott and Jess DArcy.
After an impressive season so far with podium finishes in World Cup Hyeres, Princess Sofia and World Cup Miami, Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell stormed to victory in the weekend’s proceedings. Fellow British Sailing Team squad members James Peters and Fynn Sterritt took second ahead of Jack Hawkins and Chris Thomas. Having won the series opener, Chris Taylor and Sam Batten’s fifth place was enough to be crowned 2017 Spring Series victors. Podium sailors Fletcher and Bithell presented non-squad sailors with new spinnakers during the prize giving.
Pairing up together for the event, Sophie Weguelin and Steph Orton had a near perfect weekend to top the 49er FX fleet. New pairing Vikki Payne and Alice Masterman showed consistency was key as they added a second place to February’s third, rewarding the duo with the series crown, ahead of Weguelin-Orton.
Emma Wilson, fresh of the back of the European Championships in Marseille, proved unstoppable in the women’s RS:X 8.5 winning all eight races in style. Youth Squad sailor Erin Watson, not finishing a race outside the top three, finished second ahead of Weymouth’s Lily Young, but the series win went to Josie Spencer. In the men’s event, Finn Hawkins at his first RS:X spring series event took weekend honours, but it was Ben Tweedle’s string of top results which saw him confirmed as series winner.
In the RS:X 9.5, it was a close fought battle between Podium Potential Pathway teammates for the top spot. After a strong second day, Dan Wilson edged to victory ahead of Matthew Barton and Andy Brown. A second event win for Wilson saw the windsurfer crowned champion.
Results from the 20-21 May event and the overall 2017 Spring Series are available here.