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10 October 2005, 11:03 am
CAMPBELL-JAMES Comes Out On Top
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RYA National Match Racing Championship 2005
Weymouth, Great Britain

This weekend's ISAF Grade 3 RYA National Match Racing Championship final saw a dominant display from Mark CAMPBELL-JAMES and his team of Dave MASON, Andy YATES and Andy CLARK, who were crowned champions having only lost one race in the whole event.
Twelve of Great Britain's top match racing teams attended the finals in Weymouth after qualifying for the event through out the year. The race committee set themselves a challenging format with a full round robin followed by quarters, semis and finals. After just over two days of sailing in varying conditions the top eight teams emerged from the round robin. Christian HAMILTON (10-1) and his team topped the standings at the end of the round robin after winning the tie breaking match against Mark CAMPBELL-JAMES (10-1). The quarter finals were mostly one sided affairs with HAMILTON, CAMPBELL-JAMES and Andrew CORNAH (5-6) all progressing through 2-0 against Lucy MACGREGOR (4-7), Alex CHERRY (4-7) and Rob GRIEG-GRAN (7-4).

The fourth quarter final match was much closer and the young team lead by Jon PINNER (6-5) pushed the higher ranked Nick CHERRY (7-4) into a third match. Unfortunately for PINNER, CHERRY's experience helped him through to the semi finals.

CAMPBELL-JAMES and HAMILTON continued their form into the semi finals, both achieving 2-0 clean sweeps against CORNAH and CHERRY. This left CAMPBELL-JAMES and HAMILTON to fight it out for the title, with CORNAH and CHERRY in the playoff for third and fourth positions.

In race one of the final, both teams were penalized in the pre-start, but after a tight first beat it was CAMPBELL-JAMES who took the lead. HAMILTON was close behind however and managed to slip inside down the run. On the second beat the two teams traded tacks right the way up. On the final approach for the mark HAMILTON, on port, went for a tight cross in front of CAMPBELL-JAMES who was coming in on starboard. Unfortunately the umpires judged that HAMILTON did not keep clear and was awarded a penalty. Down the final run HAMILTON slowed down to try and draw CAMPBELL-JAMES into a foul. Both boats parked up by the finish boat, but when he went to do his penalty turn HAMILTON was unable to keep ahead and CAMPBELL-JAMES took the first race.

Race two was equally exciting. At the end of the first beat HAMILTON looked to have a good lead, but in trying to cut the corner a little early he hooked the windward mark on his rudder. Swift action from HAMILTON, who actually jumped in the water to free the mark tackle from his rudder, saw that he maintained a slim lead, but having hit the buoy HAMILTON was penalized by the umpires. For the next lap CAMPBELL-JAMES sailed conservatively to keep within touching distance of HAMILTON, knowing that HAMILTON would have to clear his penalty at some point. Down the final run CAMPBELL-JAMES and his crew out gybed HAMILTON and rolled passed him into the finish to take the title for the second year in a row.

In the third/fourth playoff both teams were very evenly matched. CHERRY took the first race, finishing with an impressive display of backwards sailing when CORNAH tried to undo his penalty at the finish. However, CORNAH and his team battled back to take the next two races and take third overall.

RYA National Match Racing Championship Final Standings

1. Mark CAMPBELL-JAMES
2. Christian HAMILTON
3. Andrew CORNAH
4. Nick CHERRY
5. Rob GRIEG-GRAN
6. Jon PINNER
7. Alex CHERRY
8. Lucy MACGREGOR
9. Ali HALL
10. Richard MASON
11. Ian DOBSON
12. Gemma FARRRELL

Myrrh Walker
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