London and South East Regional Junior Championships 2020

13 Oct 20

Due to number restrictions the windsurfers were on a different day to the dinghies. They had a day of racing and coaching at Datchet Water SC. This was very popular with 31 windsurfers turning up, the most for 10 years.

For the dinghies restriction meant a limit of 60 boats on site so the event was split into two days, Toppers and Fevas on Saturday and Optimist’s and Teras on Sunday. This proved to be very successful with both days having full entries. Covid restrictions did not deter the sailors and parents.

Polly and Steve Smith report on the first dinghy day:

There was great excitement from all who participated. In the current environment, being together for an event has become the exception rather than the norm. Two weeks before the Championships, the club had hosted a Topper London and South East (LSE) Traveller Series event, which helped the club, sailors and parents get into the swing of events in the new normal.

There were 35 Topper sailors representing 17 clubs and 17 Fevas representing seven different clubs.

The weather forecast was for very strong winds of 14-16 knots and gusting 20, which increased steadily throughout the event. The advice given was that there would be no support on the water given to those that needed to reef their sails. In spite of reefing there were some very spectacular wipeouts. There were several retirements when sailors realised they had reached their limit. Competitors had a thoroughly enjoyable day judging by their huge grins.

The kids were delighted to see and chat to Charlotte Bonella and Ollie Spensley-Corfield, who had been coaching the LSE Zone Squad over the winter months.

It was great to see parents pitching in with launching, recovery and general encouragement that demonstrates Topper’s reputation as the friendly class.

Dan James, father of Topper competitor Joshua, said: “The event was smoothly run and safe, there is plenty of space at Datchet to allow social distancing. We liked the way WhatsApp was used to communicate what was happening to the parents. That coupled with a good amount of wind made it a very enjoyable day. Many thanks to all involved.”

Andy Richards, father of Ruby, who competed in the Tera class on Sunday reported: “The welcome at the club was A1, with plenty of space to unload and rig. All the team at the club were very helpful, especially with the boats going out from the pontoons.

“The support on the water was excellent. Despite the weather conditions Ruby had a fab day and came in with her face beaming like a ball of sunshine.”

Ruby sailed a Tera which was donated to Felpham Sailing Club by the John Merricks Sailing Trust

“It was great to see so many young sailors out there over the weekend, sailing so well in what were trying conditions,” said Chris Atherton, the RYA’s National Performance Manager.

“The sailors were eager and focused when it came to getting out on the water. The level of ability was high and I was really impressed with the sailors resilience given the wind strength and how much colder it was with the arrival of the northerly winds.”

Thanks go to all competitors, parents and volunteers, and to Datchet Water Sailing Club for stepping in at short notice to host the event.

Regional Performance Manager Paul Wren says: “Reviews are ongoing currently as to next year’s format, venue, etc. and constructive suggestions will be gratefully received. Contact