Rutland Sailing Club has become home to over 330 junior sailors this weekend (12-13 May), with some of the UK’s brightest young racing talents gathering for the 2007 RYA Eric Twiname Championships.
The competitors, all aged between 8-15 years, are the best young sailing talents from each of six English Zones, and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and are battling to help their Zone or home country team clinch the coveted Eric Twiname Shield for the best overall performance at the end of the weekend.
Saturday’s first day saw fresh breezes of around 17 knots sweeping across Rutland Water, allowing the event, now in its 21st year, to get off to flying start with three races in all the competing fleets.
Two brother and sister pairings lead the double-handed classes at the end of the first day. In the Mirror class, William and Hannah Parkinson scored two race wins and a third to put them in the lead by one point.
The pair are competing in their second RYA Eric Twiname Championship together, having finished ninth at last year’s event, although they’ve switched positions since last year with William taking the helm.
“Today was quite good for us – we’re better at sailing in stronger winds,” explained 15-year-old Hannah, from Windermere.
“We had a bit of a problem in the third race,” continued 13-year-old William. “We were the only boat to have our spinnaker up but got caught by a gust and capsized. We managed to pull back from sixth to third though, so it wasn’t too bad.”
The South Zone is the Zone to beat in the Mirror class – six crews from the Itchenor and Bosham sailing clubs are currently in the top ten.
In the Cadet class, Arthur and Mary Henderson (Tamesis SC) had two race wins and a second for their efforts today and have a two point lead over Charlie and William Davis (Royal Lymington YC). Arthur, 14, and 11-year-old sister Mary, have high hopes for this event, which is their second RYA ET Championship together.
“We finished fourth last year, so just missed out on getting a trophy,” Arthur explained. “Hopefully we’ll do better this year – we’ve had a good start and can sail well in both light and strong conditions so tomorrow we’ll just try to sail fast and keep clean air.”
In the single-handed class, Sophie Hamilton (Burghfield SC) is leading the 63-boat Optimist fleet.
Laser 4.7 sailors have also taken to Rutland Water for the penultimate indicator event for the GBR RYA Laser 4.7 National Junior Squad, with Charlotte Greenhalgh of Elton in third and currently the top female sailor.
After all the on-water action, the sailors capped the day off with a human table football tournament, which saw Zones and Home Country teams pitted against each other and their coaches.
“It has been a breezy day, and all of the sailors seem pretty tired after three long hard races (four for the windsurfers),” said RYA Junior Racing Manager and Event Director Duncan Truswell. “Most of the sailors coped really well in some challenging conditions and we look forward to seeing who comes out on top.
“Our national coaches were afloat today and were very impressed with the sailors who will be challenging for places in the GBR National Junior Squad later in the year. It is particularly pleasing to see so many smiling faces after the evening entertainment.”
The ‘Battle of the Zones’ continues tomorrow (Sunday 13 May) where the Eric Twiname Shield will be up for grabs for the most successful Zone or Home Country.
Further event information and results can be found on the event website at http://www.ryaracingevents.org.uk/regattas/et2007/
For more media information please contact Lindsey Bell, Team GBR Communications Officer, Tel: 023 80 604 216 Mobile: 07900 570530, e-mail: [email protected]