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1 April 2008, 09:48 am
RYA Youth Nationals Kick Off In Style
James ELLIS at the helm of the British 29er during the 2007 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship
James ELLIS, pictured at the helm of the British 29er during the 2007 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship, made a strong start in Pwllheli on Monday

RYA Youth Championships 2008
Pwllheli, Wales, Great Britain

James PETERS and Ed FITZGERALD could be very pleased with their day's work after they produced arguably the performance of the opening day of the 2008 RYA Youth National Championships and Trials at Pwllheli Sailing Club.
The RYA Youth Championships, as always, will form part of the official Royal Yachting Association (RYA) National Youth Squad review process and act an indicator for sailor support for the relevant class World and European Championship events over the summer as well as selection for British team at this year's Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship, taking place in Århus, Denmark in July.

The start of the first day of racing was delayed until just after 13:00, due to light winds in Cardigan Bay on Monday. However that did nothing to stop James PETERS and Ed FITZGERALD, with the 15-year-old pair making the most of building breeze throughout the afternoon to post two firsts and a second in the 29er class to head the class leaderboard at the end of day one.

But they were made to work for their lead in every race as PETERS' 17-year-old sister Frances PETERS, the reigning RYA 29er Youth National champion, and new crew Claire LASKO pushed them all the way posting 2,2,1 in what is guaranteed to be an enthralling battle for 2008 29er supremacy.

Five crews mixed and matched the top five places in each of the first three races with local lads, Bleddyn MON and Tom HUMPHRIES, taking 3,4,3 to be placed third overall going into day two with World Under 19 champions Max RICHARDSON and Alex GROVES handily placed in fourth after their 5,3,4 opening day series. Becky DIAMOND and Fiona HAMPSHIRE lie fifth courtesy of a 4,5,5 record.

With the Laser class expected to be equally as competitive, Evan SCOTT, who finished the top RYA Youth Squad sailor at the recent senior Laser World Championships, was left ruing a race 3 disqualification for a start infringement that saw him drop from second to eighth. Reigning Youth Nationals Laser champion Stuart GODWIN showed he is in no mood to relinquish his crown posting 3,1,3 to lead from Rob SPENCER and Oli TWEDDELL going into day two.

Meanwhile a similar fate also befell debutant 420 helm Phil SPARKS, sailing with Ben GRATTON, when having taken 4,1 to lead after the first two races were disqualified from race 3 to end the day tenth overall. Ben SAXTON and David DE BOLTZ's consistent 3,3,1 puts them at the top of the board with Imogen STANLEY and Kate MACGREGOR the top ranked female pair in fourth overall.

Ali MASTERS and Jacob BRUBERT lived up to their billing as favourites for the RS:X title, taking a win and second apiece from the two windsurfer races today while two thirds for Izzy HAMILTON on her RYA Youth Nationals debut puts her in third place overall. Sophie BAILEY, one of the hot prospects for the girls' RS:X title, had to unfortunately withdraw from the Championships before registration due to injury.

Sailing their first regatta together in the SL16, James ELLIS and Andrew GLOVER, medallists in the 29er and Hobie 16 classes at last year's Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship, suffered a last race blip, finishing third in the three boat fleet but still sit top of the pile thanks to their two opening races wins.

With the Radials boasting the biggest fleet of the Championships, 86 boats will contest a qualifying series of six proposed races. The fleet is split into four groups who race each other in rotation, with two flights being run per race. Boats will be assigned to final gold and silver fleets based on their ranking after qualifying.

After three races on day one, Tom WILLIS heads the pack recovering from a sixth in his opening race to then post two consecutive bullets to end the end day on nine points while John CURRIE is just a point behind on 10 with James Grant third on 14.

Results - click here
Karenza Morton
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