Olympians of past, present and possibly the future flocked to Weymouth over the weekend of 16-17 October for the third RYA Holt Ranking Series 2004.
With over 100 competitors, the next Olympic cycle is now in full swing following the success of our sailors in Athens.
The largest class (and also the largest sailors) was the Finn class with 23 boats racing. New to the class but certainly not new to top level racing was Ed WRIGHT. He sailed a consistent weekend and finished third behind Matt HOWARD in second and Chris BRITTLE who won the weekend by just two points.
In the girl's single-handed class, Athens Team GB sailor, Laura BALDWIN was back on home waters. Having finished second and fourth in the first two races, she soon acclimatised to the cooler conditions of England by beating Lizzie VICKERS by four points overall. In third was Andrea BREWSTER whose impressive first day awarded her a podium position from Chris GILL in fourth.
In the 470 fleet three past Olympians lined up on the start line. Sarah AYTON, still at the front of the boat but in a very different role, was sailing with National Youth champion and bronze medallist at the Youth Worlds, Pippa WILSON. Paul BROTHERTON who sailed the 470 in the Barcelona Olympic Games was sailing with Dan CALDER and Christina BASSADONE had Saskia CLARK crewing.
Amongst these famous faces RYA Olympic Development and Performance squad members as well as newcomers to the class lined up on the start line. Nic ASHER and Elliot WILLIS dominated the talented fleet winning by eight points from Neil MARSDEN and Graham NELSON. Paul BROTHERTON soon got into the swing of sailing a more traditional boat, having left his 49er on shore, and finished third.
The Tornado had an encouraging turnout with eight boats on the starting blocks. Being the fastest Olympic class the boats flew around the course and it was Simon NORTHROP and Matt YOUNG who were quickest; winning four of the six races. However, they were discarding a fifth and counting a fourth. This meant that Jonnie HUTCHCROFT and Marcus LYNCJH were never far behind finishing in second by two points. Andrew WALSH and Ed BARNEY took third place.
The 49er had two series' running over the weekend, the first being the RYA Holt Ranking Series and the second being the Gold series that has no discard. John PINK and Alex HOPSON still topped the leader board in both series. Likewise, David Evans and Rich Peacock were second and Roger GILBERT and Adam BRUSHETT were third. Winning silver and bronze Olympic medals as crew, Simon HISCOCKS was now trying his hand at helming. After winning two races he finished sixth just in front of Graham VIALS, who is normally seen sailing a 470 at a world class level.
Megan PASCOE racing in the 2.4mR class displayed her girl power and fended off competition from the men by beating George BARKER and Michael COGSWELL to take the highest position on the podium.
Barrie EDGINGTON, RYA National Racing Coach and Event Director said, "This weekend has seen one of the largest turnouts since the series began and it has been fantastic to see so many Olympians coupled with so many newcomers at this level of national racing. The Olympic cycle, building towards Beijing 2008, kicked off with a bang and watching the racing it is evident there is so much talent to look out for in the future as well as Olympians sailing in different boats from Athens with different crews."
The next RYA Holt Ranking Series will be 6/7 November and moving inland to Rutland Sailing Club. The event will be open to the Finn, Europe, 470, 2.4mR and Mistral.
1. Megan Pascoe, ((2),1,2,1,2,1) 7 pts
2. George Barker, (1,2,1,2,1,(RTD)) 7 pts
3. Michael Cogswell (3,3,3,(4),3,3) 15 pts
1. Chris Brittle, ( 1,3,1,(3)1,1) 7 pts
2. Matt Howard, (3,1,2,1,(4),2) 9 pts
3. Edward Wright, (2,5,(6),2,3,3) 15 pts
1. Laura Baldwin, (2,(4),1,2,1,1) 7 pts
2. Lizzie Vickers, (1,2,(5),4,2,2) 11 pts
3. Andrea Brewster, (4,1,2,5,(7),3) 15 pts
1, Nic Asher/ Elliot Willis, (2,1,1,1,(5),1) 6 pts
2. Neil Marsden/Graham Nelson, (1,2,(5),3,6,3 14 pts
3. Paul Brotherton/ Dan Calder, (3,(8),7,5,4,2) 21 pts
1. Simon Northrop/Matt Young, (1,(5),1,1,1,4) 8 pts
2. Jonnie Hutchcroft/Marcus Lyncjh, (3,1,2,2,(3),2) 10 pts
3. Andrew Walsh/Ed Barney, (4,2,4,(4),2,1) 13 pts
1. John Pink/Alex Hopson, (6,1,(7),2,3,2) 14 pts
2. David Evans/Rick Peacock, (3,4,4,3,5,(7)) 19 pts
3. Roger Gilbert/Adam Brushett, (4,(8),3,4,6,3) 20 pts