Festive fun at the Winter Championships 2023

56 junior and youth entrants across Optimist, Topper, ILCA, Feva, Techno 293, and iQFoil classes gathered for the Winters Championships over the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd of December in Largs for a sought-after opportunity for sailors to come together from all corners of the country.
03 Dec 23
Sailing and WIndsurfing action at the winter Champs

With almost 60 sailors across six different classes taking to water for an icy but successful Winter Championships at Largs Sailing Club, lots of festive cheer made sure spirits were kept up and, with plenty sailors donning appropriate Christmas attire, the competition wasn’t just limited to the sailing. 

Day one concluded with 11 completed races across the dinghy classes on Alpha Course, while the windsurfers made it out into the bay, but not round any complete Bravo Courses.

Racing was however tight across the Optimist, Topper, and ILCA Classes.

Sailing and WIndsurfing action at the winter Champs

The young Oppie sailors fitted in 2 complete races before retiring to warm up indoors. Meanwhile, the Toppers and ILCA’s managed to squeeze in 4 and 5 races respectively before heading back ashore.

It was a different story for the lone RS Feva that made it along for day one, joining the windsurfing cohort on the more changeable Bravo Course on which ultimately no races were sailed.

The cold and calm conditions were also felt by the iQFoil windsurfers, who weren’t met with the necessary 10 knots to get flying.

But, competitors were in good company on and off the water. Between dedicated volunteers covering everything for safety to snacks up in the lounge, to the pod of Dolphins accompanying sailors round the windward mark, there was plenty to be excited about.

Sailing and WIndsurfing action at the winter Champs

Race Officer for the Alpha Course Eilidh Miller shared her thoughts at the end of day one:

“The competitors all did well in the conditions. We got in 4, 5 and 2, good races in across the fleets. It was also great to see the dolphins out on the start line, however they may have been a distraction for some of our ILCA sailors.”

With plenty positives amongst the challengingly light winds, complete with 90 degree wind switches, sailors all left the water looking ahead to Day 2 and it’s slightly more promising weather forecast.

And, the Sunday didn’t disappoint, with the sun coming out alongside a much more consistent wind.

Sailing and WIndsurfing action at the winter Champs

The additional breeze did however keep the safety cover busy, whether that was supplying snacks, or to assisting a few capsize recoveries.

Wind was however welcomed by the iQFoils storming around Bravo Course.

Sailing and Windsurfing action at the winter Champs

With the Fevas also getting a first result under their belt, sailors came off the water satisfied with a full day of racing.

Once off the water and warmed up, attentions turned to prizegiving, run by Event Director and Performance manager Matt Toynbee who noted:

“Great to get the Winter Championship back this year back with plenty festive cheer. Some awesome efforts from the sailors in even getting here with the weather across the country. Massive thanks to all those parents, officials, volunteers and sailors who enabled the event to be a success this year.”

Toppers sailing upwind at the Winter Championships

In the three largest fleets, it was Emily Shearer who came out on top from the Toppers, with Finlay Ritchie the first Optimist, while in the tightly fought ILCA 6 Fleet Ruairi Herrington claimed first.

Reflecting on her weekend of racing Emily said: “It was good fun, I like coming together with different fleets and seeing my friends. Wind was a bit challenging at times, but nice to have different races on different days. The wind today was great.”

Amongst the performance prizes, there was also plenty recognition for those donning festive attire including hats, snowman jackets, and ‘luff length’ tinsel.

Check out the full results online now.

Also reflecting on a successful Winter Championship is RYA Board Performance Director Hamish Mackay who was there watching the action:

“It’s been great to see so many keen sailors turning out in these conditions. Between some great racing and some great Christmas attire, it’s clear the Winters are a favourite for many of the youngsters here this weekend. For lots of them, it’s a valued chance to get together with comrades they don’t see every weekend at their own club. Not only is it a bonus socially, it allows them to compare where their own skills are at, and see how their performance measures up.”

“Bringing everyone together is really important and that is the aim of bringing more people into our Performance Committee, so if you have an interest in the sport I would encourage you to get involved and apply by January.”

Find out more about getting involved with the Performance Committee on our recruitment page.