Farmoor Reservoir, Oxford, will play host to over 280 sailors this weekend as 48 teams of fired up youngsters go head-to-head to battle it out for the title of 2010 RYA Eric Twiname Team Racing Champions at the much anticipated annual event.
With entries open in the two age groups, under 16 and under 19, the teams of six sailors hail from as far afield as Chester and Torbay and span a vast variety of abilities. For many teams the event will be their first taste of team racing and they will be sure to learn a lot, but for others the 2010 title will be right on their targets.
Defending double Youth Champions, West Kirby SC, again skippered by Laser Radial RYA Volvo National Youth Champion Cameron Douglas, will be looking to make it a title hat-trick this year whilst 2009's Junior Champions are absent from the event promising the crowning of a new Junior Champion this year.
Event Director comment
RYA Event Director David Campbell-James explains; "With some really strong and talented teams in the line-up this year the tussle for championship victory is set to be fierce. For the less experienced teams however it will definitely be quite an eye opener!
"Having said that, the emphasis of the event though will be on creating a fun environment over the two days where young sailors can learn more about team racing and improve their skills."
Team racing takes on quite a different format to fleet or match racing, calling on a mixture of contrasting sailing skills important in both. Sailors need to work together to employ a range of complex tactics to win the race as a team, unlike fleet racing where crossing the line first is more the focus.
Campbell-James explained: "It's about the team effort and getting your three boats over the line in the best possible sequence of finishes."
"It's a really great platform for improving individually and as part of a crew as it teaches sailors really important lessons about all types of sailing, from the importance of communication to thoroughly understanding the racing rules of sailing. I think that's why we get such a big turnout from some of the best individual sailors in the country." he continued.
The weekend will be divided into three stages; ranking, league, and knock-out rounds, with over 250 separate races scheduled before the Championship-winning teams are decided. With such a tight packed schedule spectators are promised a real showdown with races scheduled to start every three minutes keeping sailing going continually throughout the day.
The Junior (under 16) fleet will be racing in RS Fevas, and with the likes of Feva Junior World Champions Owen Bowerman and Charlie Darling lining up against Junior Mirror European Champions Matt and Ben Lulham-Robinson as well as rising Optimist talents Sarah Norbury, last weekend's End of Season Championships top girl, and Karyna Manuel, 2010 South East Zone Champion, the fight for the Junior crown will be fraught. Second place 2009 finishers Spinnaker SC are joining forces with Royal Lymington and the Royal Southern YC's this year and will be eager to assert their dominance on proceedings. Emsworth and Burghfield SC's, who jointly wound up third at last year's event will also be on the victory hunt.
Meanwhile the Youth (under 19) fleet will be fighting it out in Fireflies desperate to knock West Kirby SC off target. Royal Grammar School Guildford will be a force to be reckoned with, their team comprising 420 Youth Worlds gold medallist Ben Gratton amongst others, whilst last year's second place finishers, Parkston YC, will be looking to upgrade their result to a first sending their 2010 Youth Worlds Team member Joanna Freeman to help secure the crown. Entering two teams this year however, Sevenoaks School who have been historically extremely strong at the event, will also be doing all they can to knock them off course and claim the title themselves.
For more information about the event and a full entry list visit www.ryaracingevents.org.uk