The RYA Winter Match Racing Programme got off to a flyer this weekend (8-9 December) at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy with eight teams battling for event honours in what was billed as a part-competition part-training regatta.  

The weekend, which welcomed Youth, Women’s and University teams, began on Saturday morning with an average of 6 knots out in Portland Harbour, providing champagne sailing conditions for the eight teams competing in the RYA’s fleet of Elliott 6m boats. Eight round robin stages were completed on the opening day, with a further two on Sunday morning followed by the semi-finals and final on Sunday afternoon.  

Former 420 World Champion and 2012 ISAF Youth Worlds bronze medallist Annabel Vose kicked off her first competitive match racing event in style by claiming six wins in the round robin stages to book her spot in a semi-final showdown with Dan Wray who clawed his way through by finishing fourth. A second semi-final bout was booked between Philip Bendon who ended the round robin in second and Matt Rainback who finished in third.  

Vose and her crew of Tom Forrester Coles and Kirstie Urwin got off to a promising start taking the first race win, however fell short in the following two flights to crash out at the semi-final stages after such a promising showing in the round robin stages.  

A similar story in the second semi-final with Matt Rainback clinching the race win in the opening match, to then lose the following two flights handing Philip Bendon his place in the RYA Winter Match Racing Final.  

The final witnessed some exciting Match Racing with Daniel Wray putting his fourth place finish in the Round Robin stages behind. The first two races were extremely close with a boat length win for each team, with Wray then taking the third race and the overall weekend’s honours.  

David Campbell James, Event Director and Chair RYA Match Racing Group, commented: “This weekend was a superb start to the RYA Winter Match Racing programme at WPNSA. Sailors approached the weekend with positive attitudes and the determination to learn and compete at the highest level. Some sailors entered the event with very little match racing experience, however acquired certain skills very quickly which will bode well for future regattas.  

“We were greeted with stunning conditions on the opening day enabling the sailors to really test themselves in a competitive Match Racing environment. We had a maximum of eight teams competing at the event and have a full entry for the event in January. There are a few spaces left for the third weekend which takes place on the 24-25 January. The idea of the weekends is to provide a transition from dinghy sailing into keelboat sailing and then potentially onto the British Keelboat Academy.”  

RYA Winter Match Racing Programme – Weekend 1 results 

1 Dan Wray, Matt Haslam, Jack Kilburn
2 Phil Bendon, Bruno Van Dyke, Ruari Grimes
3 Matt Rainback, Marcel Herrera, Alexamder Macpherson
4 Annabel Vose, Tom Forrester-Coles, Kirstie Urwin
5 Richard Mason, Dylan Fletcher, Tom Peel
6 Maddy Anderson, Harry Willett, Charles Willett
7 James Hall, Rob Bruce, Kate Devereux
8 Nicholas Robson, Jonty Cook, Conrad Manning  

For further information on the RYA Winter Match Racing Programme contact