Over 130 boats launched on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond over the weekend of 23rd and 24th of September for the annual RYA Zone Championships. This year the event incorporated the Scottish Club Trophy as the coached regatta fleet which brought several new classes to join the overall fleet.
Alongside the two Zones fleets consisting of Optimists, Toppers, Laser 4.7, Laser Radials, RS:X, Techno, 420 and 29er, while the Scottish Club Trophy fleet took on the regatta fleets and included Fevas, Teras and Hansas.
The club volunteers did a fantastic job throughout the varied and predominately light airs regatta, from assisting on the water across the three courses to the flow of hot
tea and bacon rolls in the clubhouse. Glen Carrick, Loch Lomond Sailing Club's Commodore said, "The Event has been very well run, many thanks to all our volunteers who have put in a lot of work in the background. It's great to host a RYA event with over 160 competitors on the water and all the parents for getting them here. It has been absolutely tremendous."
Conditions started out quite light on Saturday but picked up during the day, perfect for those new to racing in the Club Trophy fleet. The more experienced racers battled with shifty and patchy breeze to keep their places at the front of the fleet over the day's three races.
Sunday brought a change in weather to the locally named 'smurr' or Scotch mist but the breeze remained constant enough to hold another three races on the Loch. British Sailing Team 49er sailor Gilles Munro joined the coaching team afloat and provided some insights into his sailing pathway.
Gilles commented: "It doesn't feel very long since I was here at a Zones Championship listening to Luke Patience and receiving a prize from him when I sailed a Feva or a 29er. To come back and be associated with that is really cool. It's great to see so many kids out sailing and coming through the RYA Pathways, some of them maybe standing up at the prize giving and sharing their story in a few years."
One of the fleet winners was Jude Nicol in the RS:X windsurfing which looked demanding in the light airs, pumping around the course, she commented, "I quite like the light winds, part is how hard you have to work, but the other part is you have to think where you are going tactically. I quite like looking where the shifts are so it was a great opportunity to test my skills. My next event is the Tiree Wave Camp which is completely different, with short board kit and sailing in waves, which I love. It is always great to sail in different conditions."
In the Scottish Club Trophy Fleet many of the sailors were new to racing or sailing away from their home club. Feva sailors Hector Wedderburn and Yuan Wong from Castle Semple Sailing Club gave a great example when Yuan noted.
"It's a good experience to find other surroundings and meet new people and be challenged in competition. We learnt a lot about light wind sailing from the coaches and the starts were excellent fun"
In the Topper class of the Scottish Club Trophy fleet Robbie Littlefield finished second overall and first boy after a great series of races. He said afterwards; "I've done one event before in Helensburgh and my friend Eilidh gave me her boat for the weekend here. On the first day I was second overall and I managed two first's today. It was more fun with more wind as I went faster but racing the others was great."
It was also a great opportunity to get some further fleet race experince for Hansa sailors, Rory McKinna and Ryan Sallens, as they prepare to head off to Italy later this month for the Hansa Europeans.
The overall Scottish Club Trophy award went to Largs Sailing Club for their combined results, while Dalgety Bay won the Zones Club award.
Event Director and RYA Scotland Class Academy Officer, Matt Toynbee noted.
"It was awesome to see so many new sailors out on the water and enjoying the racing. With so many boats racing, it provided close battles all the way through the fleets".
RYA Zone Championships Results
29er Class -1st Ben Ibbotson and Archie Leckie (9pts); 2nd Rory and Gregor
Angus (13pts); 3rd Lucy Wilson and Thomas Goodman (17pts)
420 Class - 1st Calum Bell and Josh Hale (7pts); 2nd Kieran Young and Ruben Stokoos(14pts); 3rd Emily Biggar and Szymon Matyjaszczuk (20pts)
BicTechno - 1st Ariana Johnson (9pts); Katya Johnston(12pts); Millie Johnston(25pts)
RS:X - 1st Jude Nicol (7pts); 2nd Sam Brown(14pts); 3rd Maya Wylie (19pts)
Optimist - 1st Alastair Coombs (7pts); 2nd Daniel Scott (15pts); 3rd Connor Kennedy (17pts)
Topper - 1st Finlay Tulett (9pts); 2nd Jamie Briggs (13pts); 3rd Tom Mitchell (16pts)
Laser 4.7 - 1st Scott Forbes (5pts); 2nd Alex Noble (11pts); 3rd Suzanna Homer (16pts)
Laser Radial - 1st Christopher McIntyre (6pts); 2nd Olly Carr (8pts)
Scottish Club Trophy
Feva Class - 1st Catriona Forrest & Evie Tynan (5pts); 2nd Aidan Dunn and Abigail Carrick (8pts); 3rd Finn Dunn and Alfie Brooks (15pts)
Hansa 303 - 1st Rory McKinna (5pts); Ryan Sallens (9pts)
Optimist - 1st Ruairi Herrington (7pts); 2nd Oliver Rose (9pts); 3rd Tia Hepplewhite (11pts)
Tera - 1st Jamie McKeating (7pts); 2nd Finlay Briggs (9pts); 3rd Sean Rutherford (14pts)
Topper - 1st Maisie Russell (6pts); 2nd Robbie Littlefield (9pts); 3rd Matthew Park (15pts)
Overall Club Trophy was awarded to Largs Sailing Club