Sailors from the British Sailing Team’s Podium squads topped the billing across all classes this weekend as the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy staged the opening event of the 2013 RYA Autumn Olympic Classes National Ranking Series (19-20 October).

Racing got underway in a shifty 12-20 knots with gusts of up to 25 knots on Saturday with all classes managing five races, apart from the 2.4mR fleet who completed four.

Sunday saw a different story with extremely strong winds gusting 40 knots preventing any further action at the 2012 Olympic sailing venue for the 2.4m.R, Finn, 49er, 49er FX and Nacra 17, while the 470’s and RS:X managed to complete two races in gusty conditions.

London 2012 silver medallist and reigning RS:X World Champion Nick Dempsey showed his pedigree from the word go, claiming six race wins from the seven race series ahead of his British Sailing Team training partner Tom Squires who finished second.

Fresh from his victory at the Semaine Olympique Francaise earlier this month, Giles Scott continued his momentum  in the Finn with two race wins and three seconds to clinch event victory ahead of his fellow British Sailing Team Podium Squad sailors Andrew Mills and Mark Andrews who finished second and third respectively.

In the 470 event, Sophie Weguelin-Eilidh McIntyre battled off strong competition from Jonny McGovern-Joe Butterworth to finish with an eight point lead at the top of the leaderboard. Amy Seabright-Anna Carpenter, who clinched bronze at the fifth and final leg of the EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup in La Rochelle, finished this opening event of the Series in third.

The Nacra 17 fleet witnessed a tight battle at top of the fleet between World silver medallists Ben Saxton-Hannah Diamond and 2008 Olympic gold medallist Pippa Wilson and her crew John Gimson. Trading first and seconds in the opening two races of the regatta, Saxton-Diamond went onto claim the final two race wins on Saturday to secure event honours by a single point. Lucy Macgregor-Richard Mason were third.  

Five race wins for makeshift crew Stevie Morrison-Sophie Ainsworth gave them weekend victory in the 49erFX event ahead of Frances Peters-Nicola Groves, while in the men’s 49er the battle between first and second place was extremely intense over the weekend of racing, but it was Dylan Fletcher-Alain Sign who took event honours on count back over Dave Evans-Ed Powys. Nick Asher-Fynn Sterritt rounded their weekend off in third.  

In the 13-strong 2.4mR Paralympic class, London 2012 Paralympic champion Helena Lucas took event victory finishing top of the pile with eight points. Megan Pascoe took second place, two points behind Lucas, while Eric Dyre’s bullet in race two was enough to give the third step on the podium.  

Barrie Edgington, British Sailing Team Podium Potential Squad Manager, commented: “We saw some fantastic racing on the opening day of the Series across all classes in what were some very challenging and shifty conditions at WPNSA on Saturday. Sunday welcomed some very, very gusty conditions and the race officials did a great job in managing to hold two races for the RS:X and 470 events.

“Although the racing across the other classes was cancelled on Sunday, we still witnessed some great competition from both familiar faces within the British Sailing Team ranks as well as some new faces to the Olympic and Paralympic classes on the opening day. The shorter race format and 10 race target meant that even the classes canned on Sunday had a 5 race series to count and the competitors seemed to revel in it. We can now look forward to next weekend’s second instalment of this National Ranking Series where we are expecting to see a bumper entry across most classes.”

Click here for the full list of results from WPNSA.

The second event of the Series will take place on the final weekend of October (26-27 October) while the third and final event of the Series will be held on the 16-17 November. The event is compulsory for all British Sailing Team Podium and Podium Potential Squad members.

Please check the Olympic Classes Handbook HERE for information about individual class programmes and which events count towards the Series for each Olympic and Paralympic Class.

To avoid the increased late entry fee, entries must be made today (21 October) for the second weekend and 11 November for the third and final weekend at WPNSA.

Enter online for the remaining two events of the 2013 RYA Autumn National Ranking Series here.

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