Team ‘West Kirby SC’ were crowned Youth Champions and ‘The Sailing Assassins’ were triumphant Junior Champions at the 2015 RYA Eric Twiname Youth and Junior Team Racing Championships, held at Oxford Sailing Club over the weekend (17-18 October).

With many of the competitors taking a break from their usual sailing, the event was a great way to practice working as a team and learn some new skills while catching up with friends after a summer of competition.

Each team consists of six sailors, two sailors in each of the three boats (Fevas for Juniors and Fireflies for Youths). The sailors then have to work together to bring their teammates to the front of the race, the team with the lowest combined points wins the race. The races are 10 minutes long and there can be up to 200 in one day.

The first full round on Saturday was completed for both the Junior (u16) and Youth (u19) events in light north-easterly winds. Based on these results the fleets were then split into smaller Gold and Silver divisions, three for the Youths and two for the Juniors. Both the Youth and Junior fleets completed their Gold and Silver splits before the wind finally shut off on Sunday afternoon. 

The wind was so light the race committee could not go proceed with the planned knock-out round so the winners were decided from the final round results.

Racing in Fevas, ‘The Sailing Assassins’ (Matt Beck, Henry Chandler, Drew Wright, William Heathcote, Ellen Main and Hannah Roberts-Straw) finished third in the Saturday round which was enough to qualify them for the Gold A league. They then ‘assassinated’ their competition winning all four of their Gold A races to take the Junior Championship title.

All six team members are current Optimist sailors and captaining their team was Matt Beck (Bowmoor SC): “My dad suggested the idea of putting an Optimist team together, a few of the people that were meant to be doing it couldn’t do it, so Hannah and Ellen stepped in last minute.”

Henry Chandler (Bowmoor SC) enjoyed the weekend sailing in a team: “It was good, the team worked well together and my crew was very good and it was fun.”

‘Sevenoaks School’ finished second, losing just one race in the Gold A league and team ‘RS Tera Sports’ were third. Team ‘RS Tera Pros’ won the first round stage but struggled to continue their winning form in the Gold A fleet finishing fourth overall. 

West Kirby Sailing Club is known for its impressive home-grown team racing talent, and the ‘West Kirby SC’ Youths (Alex Colquitt, Hollie Marston, Octavia Owen, Amber Riggs, Henry Hughes and Hannah Owen) did not let their club reputation slide, dominating the Youth racing event. Having grown-up racing Fireflies, ‘West Kirby SC’ showed the other teams how it was done, winning all of their 15 races to be crowned well-deserved Youth Champions on Sunday afternoon.

Chasing the ‘West Kirby SC’ team were ‘Winchester College’ in second, who put up a good fight in their Gold league play-off however it was not quite enough. ‘I’d Mark Trap That’ rounded off the Youth podium in third.  

See the full results on the event website and follow the British Youth Sailing Team on Facebook and @RYAYouthRacing on Twitter.

2015 RYA Eric Twiname Junior Team Racing Champions
Matt Beck and William Heathcote
Henry Chandler and Drew Wright
Ellen Main and Hannah Roberts-Straw

2015 RYA Eric Twiname Youth Team Racing Champions
Alex Colquitt and Hollie Marston  
Octavia Owen and Amber Riggs  
Henry Hughes and Hannah Owen