The domestic Olympic Classes racing season got underway this weekend (12-13 March) with the first RYA Olympic Classes Spring Series event at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.
The weekend provided outstanding racing from some fresh faces across the SKUD, 470, Finn, 2.4mR, 49er and RS:X 9.5 men and 8.5 Open classes, as well as strong performances from top Skandia Team GBR sailors.
In the 49er event, Max Richardson and Nick Redding were consistent over the six races and showed some superb sailing to be crowned the weekend winners. James Peters and Dicken Maclean provided some stiff competition for the winners as they picked up two race wins to finish second overall.
With Skandia Team GBR’s Finn sailors training overseas, the Finn class victory went to James Hadden who provided an excellent display of racing with an impressive hat-trick of race wins.
In the men’s 470, the battle between first and second place was extremely intense over the weekend of racing, but it was Philip Sparks and Richard Mason from the Skandia Team GBR Development Squad team who turned in a first class performance and managed to fight off fellow squad members Ben Saxton and David Kohler to claim the win.
In the 11-strong RS:X 8.5 windsurfing fleet, Ali Masters won four out of the six highly competitive races with Youth Olympics bronze medallist Kieran Martin finishing seven points behind to take second place.
The RS:X 9.5 saw just two entries over the weekend with Jamie Ingram providing a spectacular performance in each race and finishing on top with six points.
Claudia Carney and Izzy Hamilton both put in dominant displays in the women’s RS:X 8.5 fleet, each winning three out of the held races held, but it was Carney who took the final race victory to claim the weekend win on countback over the Youth World Champion Hamilton.
Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth from the Skandia Team GBR Development Squad continued to prove their ability as they finished the weekend on top with four remarkable race wins in the women’s 470 event, while in the Paralympic classes, Skandia Team GBR’s Helena Lucas was on top form in the 2.4mr class as she sailed to a comfortable victory by picking up four race wins in the class which had the biggest turnout over the entire weekend of racing.
Finally, the SKUD class saw duo regular Sonar sailor Hannah Stodel team up with World Champion Niki Birrell to count five wins from six races. Alex Hovden and Kate Mannerings finished the weekend in second, followed by Stodel’s Sonar teammates John Robertson and Stephen Thomas in third.
Skandia Team GBR Development Squad Manager, Barrie Edgington, commented: “It was another cracking weekend’s racing with some stand out results and an encouraging attendance figure in the Paralympic Classes. Both the 2.4mR Open and Skud Paralympic classes had fantastic turnouts thanks to the efforts of the classes and the coaches involved, which bode very well for the future.”
He went on to say: “In the Olympic classes there were a number of wins for new faces, but it was especially encouraging to see the new Skandia Team GBR Development Squad team of Phil Sparks and Richard Mason close out the 470 Men’s fleet for their first domestic win.”
The second and final event of the Spring Series will take place at Hayling Island Sailing Club from 14-15 May.