It was a hat-trick for West Kirby Sailing Club's under 19 team racers this weekend (16-17 October) as they lifted the youth trophy for the third year running and the curtain came down on the 2010 RYA Eric Twiname Team Racing Champions, Farmoor Reservoir, Oxford. The under 16 Junior title was won by 'Bluefin' a new champion team for 2010 comprising a mixture of Optimist sailors from Burghfield, Cardiff Bay and Penarth.
West Kirby made no mistake in retaining their title racking up an unbeaten record on Saturday's opening day, rocketing themselves to sit as comfortable overnight leaders in the 24 team strong youth fleet. The day's steady winds and bright sunshine meant the event got off to a great start with over 220 first phase round-robin races completed across the two fleets.
Bluefin's junior sailors were also in top spot Saturday night tied on race wins with GBR Feva World's team contingent 'Charlie's Angles' from Torbay Yacht Club, cranking up the pressure for Sunday's deciding races.
Sunday however bought with it a slightly different story in terms of the conditions, no wind and a completely still racecourse, but as the morning progressed the wind filled in slightly and allowed for another 48 races to take place.
West Kirby continued their winning form whilst Bluefin pushed ahead taking one more win than 'Charlie's Angles'. With a late start to the day time was limited and the knockout phase was cancelled. As the highest ranked teams from the round-robin phase, 'West Kirby' and 'Bluefin' were named 2010 champions.
An ecstatic Cameron Douglas of West Kirby admitted his team, Sophie Shepherd, Fred Williams, Sam Robinson, Mike Moruzzi and Sarah Lombard weren't sure they were on high enough form to seal their victory this year: "It's pretty amazing to get the hat-trick - we weren't quite sure it was going to happen this year as we'd not managed to get as much training in as we had done in previous years but everyone sailed really well it's been a great event," he explained.
"We had plenty of tricky races but we managed to pull through and we did what we needed to do to take home the trophy once again," he continued.
Bluefin's GBR 2010 Optimist Worlds team member, Mathew Whitfield, was similarly surprised at their team's win: "It's feels really good to have won - we weren't expecting to win at all. The competition was really hard and so was the wind because it was it was all over the place today," he said.
Mathew was joined in his team by GBR Optimist European team sailors, Fraser Woodley and James Taylor along with Gareth Viney, Alex Cole and Robert Baddeley. Team work and focus was the key to their success as Robert explained: "Our plan was to stay focused and work as a team and do as much as possible really and to have fun - it's been a really good event even though it's been a bit cold!"
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.
Douglas added: "Team racing is completely different to fleet racing it's much more intense, much shorter, and there are more manoeuvres. It's less about the boat speed and I think it's more exciting than fleet racing but it's great to do them both and it certainly teaches you a lot."
Event was a great success
Event Director David Campbell-James hailed the event a great success and was keen to highlight the work put in by all the volunteers involved in making it happen: "We didn't quite get a full series in but we got enough races in to get some really clear winners and I'm really pleased with the way the event has gone. The difference between the top and less experienced teams was quite great but that's what the weekend is all about learning and having fun."
He continued: "The volunteers have been fantastic - there's a lot of preparation work that goes into the event beforehand and our team of volunteers have been absolutely pivotal. Oxford Sailing Club has been very involved in the running of the event and much of the event success is down to them."
Trophies for the top three finishing teams were awarded by Bruce Aitken from the Eric Twiname Trust who commended the RYA's work in firmly cementing the event in the British racing calendar as well as taking time to thank all the sailors for coming and supporting the Championships and highlighting the improvement he has seen in the quality of racing over the event's ten year history.
For more information about the event and a full entry list visit www.ryaracingevents.org.uk
2010 RYA Eric Twiname Team Racing Championships - top three teams results Youth
1st - West Kirby Sailing Club
2nd - Magdalen College School 1
3rd - Seven Oaks School A
1st - Bluefin - Cardiff Bay YC, Penarth YC, Burghfield SC
2nd - Charlie's Angles - Royal Torbay YC, Hayling Island SC, Draycote Water
3rd - South Coast Pirates - Spinnaker SC, Royal Lymington YC, Royal Southern YC