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14 April 2004, 09:51 am
Battle Commences For 300 Young Sailors At Youth Championships
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RYA Youth Championships and Trials
Pwllheli, Wales

Sailors woke up to similar conditions yesterday that prevented them from racing on Monday, but some early frustrations were soon swept away as six knots provided sailors with enough wind to begin sailing in the RYA Youth Championships and Trials 2004.
Nearly 200 boats and windsurfers rushed down the beach, anxious to go afloat for the first race at the biggest youth sailing event in the UK. For many sailors the regatta is incredibly important and after months of winter training, sailors are hoping to gain a place in the RYA national youth squad. For the 420, Mistral and Hobie 16, sailors are also racing for a prestigious place in the British team for the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2004 in Poland.

With a team of RYA youth selectors on hand, Jonathan MCGOVERN and Stuart BITHELL from Hollingworth Lake made an excellent start impressing them with a first in race one and, after a dog fight with Pippa WILSON and Harriette TRUMBLE from Lymington, a first in race three. Going into the night as leaders Stuart said,

"Not long ago Jonathan and I swapped positions in the boat and subsequently we have not been training as long with me helming as our rivals have. Therefore it was really encouraging to put in such a consistent performance in very shifty wind. However we still have a long way to go in the event."

Racing on the south side of Pwllheli Bay was the Mistral class in which Peter BIRD made a perfect start with two firsts. Lying second overall is RYA East Midlands Young Sailor of the Year, Richard POTTER who is counting a second and third. Steph THOMPSON from Queen Mary Sailing club is currently sixth overall and first girl.

The third class in which sailors are being selected for the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2004 in Poland is the Hobie 16. Tom PHIPPS and Jon COOK, from Restronguet, impressed the RYA youth selectors by winning both races of the day by nearly a whole leg. Also from Restronguet, Sam NEWTON and Nick TAYLOR came second in both races.

In the light airs that persisted throughout the day race organisers did well to fit three races in for the 29er class, all of which were won by Tristan JAQUES and Alain SIGN from Stokes Bay Sailing Club. After the first day of sailing, the race for second is much tighter with David EVANS and Emily PENN from Corus, and James STEWARDSON and Tom MORRIS from Ullswater joint on twelve points.

The largest class of 96 competitors is the Laser Radial who have been split into flights and Richard MCCULLOUGH from Ballyholme worked hard to fend off fellow competitors to sit on top of the leader board over night. Only one point behind and hot on the heels of Richard is Andy MCKEE from Dovestone. After winning the first race in her flight, Alison YOUNG is just one point ahead of Colette BLAIR, in fifth.

After the first day, the competitors still have a long way to go before new national champions are established and the selectors announce the British team for Poland.

Racing continues through until Friday 16 April. Full results can be found on the RYA website www.rya.org.uk.
James Holmes (As Amended by ISAF)
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