The 2018 RYA Olympic Classes Spring Series got underway this weekend (3-4 February) as 39 boats and boards took to the water in Weymouth & Portland. British Sailing Team's up-and-coming Podium Potential Pathway talents put in good performances to take some of the weekend's titles across the RS:X, 470, Finn and Nacra classes.
Sailors were greeted with a wintry and cold forecast and very little wind on Saturday morning. With the wind set to build, racing was postponed until the conditions became more settled. However, despite the slight delay, all classes completed their scheduled races with the Nacra class the last to complete their three races with the wind increasing and the light fading.
Sunday brought with it a very cold north easterly wind, blowing 23 to 28 knots. The RS:X and Nacra fleets were held ashore to see if the wind would ease, however, by midday it was still too windy and extremely cold, so the decision was made to cancel the day's racing for the RS:X and Nacra fleets.
The 470 and Finn classes were happy sailing in these conditions, with only a few of the Finn Master sailors deciding not to go out due to the heavy winds. Efficient race officering by Peter Saxton and his team led to the planned three races for Sunday being completed by lunch time, minimising the time spent out in the very cold conditions.
In the Finn class, Hector Simpson notched-up four race wins to top the Finn leaderboard after Saturday. However in a dramatic end to the event, the title was not decided until the last race as Callum Dixon came out to score three bullets on the Sunday to take first place. Cameron Tweedle stayed consistently inside the top 5 throughout the race series to round off the podium.
In the 470 fleet, Podium Potential Pathway sailors Harvey Martin-Ryan Orr and Arran Holman-Marcus Tresler battled it out at the top. Overnight leaders Harvey Martin-Ryan Orr were able to seal the event with an impressive three race wins on the Sunday. Isabel Davies and Pippa Cropley were the first female pair finishing 4th overall in the fleet.
The largest fleet was the RS:X 8.5 and saw Imogen Sills dominate the 12 strong-board fleet, not finishing out of the top three. Weymouth's Lily Young took second place ahead of Erin Watson who unfortunately saw her discard disappear after being black flagged in the first race. In the RS:X 9.5 fleet, Andy Brown and Matthew Barton swapped race wins throughout Saturday, with Andy eventually pulling ahead to take the top spot. Jonathan Ashworth put in consistent results throughout to finish in third.
With two bullets from the three races, Ben Harris and Annabel Luxton took the first weekend series victory in the Nacra event, ahead of Morgan Smith and Molly Desorgher.
Full results can be found here.
The RYA Olympic Classes Spring Series will conclude on 10-11 March 2018 at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. Enter here.
Photo: The Finn Class winners (from l to r: Hector Simpson 2nd, Cameron Tweedle 3rd, Callum Dixon 1st).