Over 270 young sailors enjoyed 10-15 knots of breeze across six junior classes on day one of the 2017 RYA Eric Twiname Championships today (Saturday 6 May).
All classes completed their intended schedule of racing on Rutland Water with consistency key if sailors wanted to make their mark at the top scoreboard on the opening day of the annual Championship.
Three different helms took the Optimist race wins, but after discarding a disappointing second race, Rory Gifford edges ahead of his rivals to lead the 75-strong fleet. Joint on points and sitting second overall is Henry Keegan (Parkstone, SW).
“It wasn’t easy, the wind kept shifting with different gusts and conditions across the course,” explained Keegan.
But Keegan was able to overcome the challenges and post two second place finishes: “I mostly had a good day, then I slipped slightly in the last race but I’m really happy with the first two races.”
Taking the second race bullet was Iolo Davies (Pembrokeshire YC, Wales) who sits third, whilst Arwen Fflur (Pwllheli SC, Wales) is first girl and eighth overall.
The Topper fleet also saw the three race bullets shared three-way. Ethan Kneale (Cardiff Bay YC, Wales) took the first race win and added 9,2 to his scoreline to sit second.
Northern Irish sailor’s Erin McIIwaine (Newcastle TC, NI) and Evie McLaughlin (Strangford SC, NI) revelled in the breeze to take the second and third race bullet.
Mcllwaine described the day’s racing: “It was quite windy, but dropped at times and was very shifty.”
“The second race went really well. My plan was to just get a really good start, get off the line quickly and get clean air,” smiled Mcllwaine.
But it was Evie McLaughlin who overcame her rivals to take the lead: “It was really, really good out there and I really enjoyed it.”
McLaughin reflected: “It was really down to my start, I got a good start and a clear lane and managed to keep it the whole way round.”
“It’s looking a bit lighter tomorrow, but hopefully I’ll still do just as well,” she concluded.
Feva-duo Alice Davis and Olivia Bracey-Davis (GMSC/HISC,S) played the shifts to their advantage to win the first two races and end their day at the front of the pack.
Snapping at their heels are Nicholas Ross and Blake Latta (Portchester, S) who took the day’s final bullet to sit one-point behind in second overall. Ching Wong and Elinor Oleary (Island Barn SC, SE) with a string of top-five results are third.
On a more sheltered racecourse, the Techno windsurfers contended with large shifts as they completed their scheduled four races.
Dominating the 7.8m Techno fleet after winning three out of the four races was Billy Ellis (Covenham SC, N) who has built a five-point cushion going in to tomorrow’s decider.
Ellis was thrilled with his day: “I got a third and then three first out there so it was really good. Sometimes it was windy, other times lighter. I’ve really enjoyed it!”
James Faley (Osprey Training Centre) and Tom Skoulding (Queen Mary SC, SE) are second and third respectively.
Two race wins for Zack Chandler (Alton Water, E) puts him in the 6.8m Techno lead. Lewis Limms three second places and a fourth sees him second for his efforts, meanwhile Ellie Wilcox’s (OTC, SW) rounds off the top three after securing the final two bullets.
Last year’s 4.5 runner-up Charlie Bennett (North Lincs, M) tops the 5.8 scoresheet overnight after a clean sweep of firsts.
Bennett had a plan going in to the day and executed it in style, he explained: “I was trying to go off the line on starboard and quickly tack off. I was reaching to try and find the wind, the wind was on and off but I won all the races so it was great.
“I will try and see what the conditions are like tomorrow and do the same,” Bennett concluded.
Guy Owen (BCYC, SW) and Jack Pilkington (Hollingworth, N) round off the top three.
It was a tight day’s racing in the 4.5 fleet with the top three boards close on points and everything still to play for. Leading the pack is Caitlin Boothroyd (West Kirby, N) ahead of Daisy Illingwoth (Oxford Sailing Club, S) and Rebecca Hall (Glossop Sailing Club, M).
Alongside the Eric Twiname Championship, the Laser 4.7 class are running their selection series event, Kai Wolgram sits first ahead of Matt Beck and Thomas Parkhurst.
Racing commences tomorrow (Sunday 7 May) at 10.25 for all classes.
Full results online here.
More about the Eric Twiname Trust - http://www.erictwinametrust.org/
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