The first weekend of the RYA Olympic Classes National Ranker took place over 22nd-23rd September at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) and Giles Scott took a clean sweep of race wins.
Racing got underway in a steady 12-14 knots with superb sunshine on Saturday with all classes managing four races except the Kiteboarding class – making its RYA National Ranker debut – who ran six on the opening day of the event.
But Sunday saw a different story with extremely strong winds gusting 40 knots preventing any further action at the 2012 Olympic sailing venue.
Giles Scott, who won the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta crown back in June, was dominant in the heavyweight Finn class, securing four race wins ahead of Skandia Team GBR teammate Mark Andrews who posted four seconds in the seven-man fleet.
Mike Wood and Hugh Brayshaw, fresh from their silver medal at the 470 Junior Europeans, came out on top to secure their first National Ranker win in the double-handed event, three race wins and a fifth easing them to a five-point margin over Amy Seabright and Eilidh McIntyre, who posted 4,4,2,4 to top the female fleet.
In the 49er event, the new pairing of Edd Clayson and Mark Asquith battled off strong competition from Skandia Team GBR squad sailors Dylan Fletcher-Alain Sign and James Peters-Ed Fitzgerald as they posted 8,1,2,2 on the only day of racing to finish the weekend one point in front of their closest rivals, who occupy second and third respectively.
The weekend welcomed two of the new Olympics classes, which will make their event debuts at the 2016 Games in Rio.The new addition of men’s and women’s kiteboarding, which will replace windsurfing, welcomed 16 competitors who completed six races in Portland Harbour.
Tom Squires, along with many of the other competitors who have made the transition from the RS:X windsurfer, took three race wins in his first competitive kiteboarding event to top the table ahead of 15-year-old Oliver Bridge, the son of the four-time kiteboarding world champion, Steph Bridge, who took event honours in female fleet.
The Mackay FX, also referred to as the 49er FX, has been chosen as the women’s two-person skiff for 2016, and four crews did battle in a highly-competitive fleet with Frances Peters and Katrina Best (née Hughes) proving a successful transition into the new class as they topped the leaderboard ahead of Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth.
Barrie Edgington, Skandia Team GBR Development Squad Manager, said: ‘The weekend was very successful with some superb racing on the Saturday. The two new Olympic classes were very positive. There was a good blend of existing kiteboard racers and RSX squad sailors. Working with the BKSA ensured that the test event for the RYA had competent racers and assistance with some of the new challenges of running this dynamic new class.
‘The RS:X windsurfers who have learnt their new trade over the summer months did very well in the kiteboarding event with Tom eventually coming out on top in an exciting and close fought six races against the more experienced boarders including four-time world champion Steph Bridge, and her son, Oliver, who filled the top places.
‘The girls in the 49er FX raced amongst a very competitive 49er fleet and did very well to hold their own in what were some fantastic sailing conditions. The four boats had some great racing with Frances and Kat emerging as the leaders, showing they have transitioned well into the new Olympic class for 2016.’
Edgington concluded: ‘It’s great to see Mike and Hugh continue their form in the 470 following their silver at the Europeans, they are certainly a team to watch out for in the future. The new teams who have only recently moved across from the 420 into the 470 are also looking very confident with some very strong performances at their first event which great to see.’
Entries are being accepted online for the second weekend of the RYA Olympic Classes National Ranker at the RYA Racing Event Website. The Notice of Race for the series can also be found on the event website.
To avoid a late entry fee entries must be made by Monday 8 October.
The recently updated 2012 RYA Olympic Classes Handbook now includes information on the three new Olympic classes, plus regatta details for all Olympic and Paralympic Classes, grant eligibility for both squad and non-squad sailors, and squad selection criteria for Skandia Team GBR.
2012 RYA Olympic Classes National Ranker – WPNSA:
1st Giles Scott
2nd Mark Andrews
3rd Peter McCoy
1st Mike Wood/Hugh Brayshaw
2nd Craig Dibb/Matt Rainback
3rd Richard Mason/David Kohler
1st Amy Seabright/Eilidh McIntyre
2nd Joanna Freeman/Katie Tomsett
3rd Anna Burnett/Flora Stewart
1st Edd Clayson/Mark Asquith
2nd Dylan Fletcher/Alain Sign
3rd James Peters/Ed Fitzgerald
1st Frances Peters/Katrina Best
2nd Charlotte Dobson/Sophie Ainsworth
3rd Mary Rook/Hannah Diamond
1st Tom Squires
2nd Oliver Bridge
3rd Lee Pasty Harvey
1st Steph Bridge
2nd Alice Shoulder
3rd Izzy Hamilton
by Matt Carter