Loch Tummel Sailing Club hosted the annual event for young sailors in the pathway classes, taking place over the 17th- 18th June 2023 to coincide with the Regional Junior Champs happening across the rest of the UK.
Two championship fleet areas brought together the best junior and youth sailors across Scotland to compete against each other in Optimist, Topper, ILCA 6, Feva, 420, 29er, Techno293 and IQFoil, alongside a fully supported regatta fleet, that is a great place for those starting their racing journey to get some experience of a bigger event.
The famous shifty conditions on Loch Tummel provided a racecourse full of opportunity which the leading sailors and windsurfers made good use over a series of up to 12 races in some classes.
There were some dominant performances in the singlehanded fleets, with Andrew Perratt (Optimist), Cameron McDaid (Topper) and Alexander Sivarajan (ILCA) all putting in an impressive series of firsts and leaving the competition far behind at points.
The Feva and 29er classes were reduced in numbers, with a great initiative on Saturday evening to test sail the 29er, which was taken up by a good number of sailors, as they look to grow their fleet.
Ben Homer and Alistair MacKinnon of Dalgety Bay SC kept fellow club sailors Finlay Davidson and Gregor Thomas in check over 12 races, dropping on one race. While the visiting Feva sailors from Prestwick SC, Ava O’Brian and Elanor Wisdish, had a closer competition against local sailors Megan and Isla Fletcher.
The windsurfers, split between the Techno 293 and the iQFoil on Bravo course had some of the closest racing, particularly in the iQFoil where the winner was decided on best discard as Loch Insh’s Kai Beattie and Daniel MacGregor from Dalgety Bay were on equal points after 9 races, with the former taking the overall win. It was marginal conditions at times and the difference in getting onto the foils successfully led to some dramatic mid race place changes.
Robin Nicol, Performance Manager and event director for the weekend said.
“What a weekend, huge thanks to the volunteers, the club and our coaches. The wind blew, the sun shone and we had lots and lots of racing. We were delighted to have this event at Loch Tummel sailing club as bringing this community together creates a level of support for each other that was amazing to be part of.”
“We hope that with the summer holidays approaching soon that this will be a springboard for the sailors to get out on the water at their club and at events further afield. Good luck to everyone."
Finlo Cottier, CEO also attended over the weekend and noted.
“This was my first attendance at the Youth and Junior Championships. The buzz about the place extended all the way from the start lines on the furthest courses, through the committee and safety boats, along the waterfront and throughout the Loch Tummel clubhouse.”
“It was great to see the support of so many people to make the event the success it was; those on the water and those shore side, parents, club members and event staff. I’m sure everyone hugely appreciated the time and effort put in by Loch Tummel Sailing Club and the great location they provided for the event. Hopefully this will be a launch pad for a summer of fulfilling sailing for many of our young participants and looking forward to seeing many at future events.”
The coaching team are a massive part of the event in supporting and improving the sailors performances, with, Robyn Phillips, Coach Education Development Manager adding.
“A fantastic weekend - some stand out moments of seeing our youth sailors supporting and inspiring our junior sailors, including a 9-year-old Oppie sailor getting his first 29er sail 3 up!! The event really showcases the young people's development.”
“A great effort from our coach team ensuring event logistics went smoothly, supporting sailors and mentoring each other. It's great to see the impact coaching has had, in particular seeing those who used to be in regatta fleet in their first main fleet competitions and those sailors we saw in the junior classes transitioning successfully into youth classes. The power of coaching was plain to see!”
RYA Scotland plan to run a ‘Giant’ Academy across the pathway classes in Largs SC on the 30th September 1st October to kick start the Academy programme for this winter, look out for further details as this event develops.