It was a double celebration for Sam Sills today (Friday 15 April) as he not only celebrates his 18th birthday, but he has also been crowned 2011 RYA Volvo Youth National Champion in the RS:X windsurfing class as the championships drew to a close at Hayling Island Sailing Club.
The RS:X class was the one to watch this week as Sam Sills, last year’s champion, and Connor Bainbridge, last year’s runner-up, were neck and neck leading into today’s two final races. The pair were level on points with 14 each leading into today’s championship decider which in the end saw Sam discard his final two results of the day after posting consistent firsts and seconds all week. Connor got off to a flyer today winning the first race, however due to a massive shift in wind during the final race Bainbridge finished in fifth, handing the 2011 title to Sills.
Sills, on picking up his second consecutive RYA Volvo Youth National Championship title, commented: “It feels amazing!”
“I have worked so hard to try and achieve this, I’m so glad the week is over and I have won! My discards were two seconds so I just had one objective which was to try and beat Connor. It’s amazing and I am so happy, it’s the best birthday present I could have asked for.”
Looking ahead to the rest of the year and the Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships, Sills said: “I need to keep training as hard as I can and try and keep focused for the ISAFs in July.”
“I will definitely try my best to bring back a medal from the event as it’s been my main aim for a long very long time.”
Meanwhile in the girls RS:X fleet, championship glory went to Jade Rogers who has only been racing on the RS:X board for six months. Noelle Finch finished the week in second 8 points behind Rogers, while Kate Strange followed in third.
Rogers said of her victory: “It’s fantastic to be crowned RS:X female champion, I have had sort of an up and down sort of week with the tricky weather conditions but it feels great!”
Having led the Spitfire catamaran fleet all week, Rupert White and Nicola Boniface were dominant throughout and have been crowned 2011 Champions.
Finishing the week 12 points ahead of second placed Andrew Sinclair and Gilbert Sutcliffe, the duo posted an incredible nine bullets and four second place finishes. This is White’s first Championship victory while his crew Boniface adds another trophy to her ever growing trophy cabinet as she won last year’s championships with a different helm.
The 29er National title goes to Lymington pair Henry Lloyd Williams and Sam Batten, who cruised to their second consecutive championship victory after producing a consistent run of results and racking up an impressive ten point lead over British duo Art Romano and Ed Romano who finished in third, four points behind the Danish crew Mads Emil Lubeck and Marie Thusgaard Olsen in second.
The 29er Youth World silver medallists, entering the Championships of the back of an impressive run of results, proved themselves effective in all conditions which was one of the main reasons for their championship triumph.
Meanwhile, Vikki Payne and Stephanie Orton were awarded the female 2011 Championship title as they finished 14th overall.
Henry Lloyd Williams said: “We have been able to use our experience which we have gained from lots of 29er sailing, enabling us to create a good lead and finish the week on a good note.
Batten added: “The racing has been very close as we have only managed to get two firsts over the entire regatta but I think consistency has been the key. The racing has been great at Hayling and the race officer on our course David Campbell-James has been brilliant.”
The Laser Radial fleet was another intense encounter with only one point separating first and second. Championship glory went to Cameron Douglas after racing extremely well throughout the week by picking up two bullets and three seconds. He was, however, made to fight for his title by last year’s bronze medal winner Elliot Hanson who posted an impressive first today, however his inconsistency throughout the week cost him overall victory.
Meanwhile Rheanna Pavey took the honours in the Radial female fleet edging out Anna Carpenter who finished in second with Ellie Meopham laying in third.
Craig Dibb and Charlie Cox were clinical in claiming the 420 boy’s title, picking up five race wins, one of which was in the final race of the day which ultimately clinched the title from Tim Gratton and Ed Riley, who finished the week in second, two points off the top spot.
420 2011 RYA Volvo Youth National Champion, Dibb said: “It feels great and hasn’t really sunk in yet, finishing first in the last race was the highlight of the week as that’s when we knew we had won.”
Cox went onto say: “We got off to a bad start so have been catching up all week. We knew we had to beat Tim and Ed and that’s what we did, it’s just an amazing feeling!”
Jess Lavery and Gerogie Mothersele had a fantastic week leading the way for the female 420 crews by finishing third overall and are crowned 420 female champions.
In the Laser Standard fleet, last year’s bronze medal winner Alex Mills Barton was crowned 2011 RYA Volvo Youth National Champion, with Rob Holmes finishing second and Martin Evans in third. Jack Wetherell finished the week at the top of the Laser Standard U19 fleet.
Mills Barton said: “It is a great feeling to eventually win the RYA Volvo Youth National Championships as I have been very close the last two years. I have not sailed to my full potential the last couple of years so this week has been fantastic. Everyone wants to win these Championships so it means a lot to finally be crowned champion.”
Skandia Team GBR and Team Volvo for life sailor Paul Goodison, the 2008 Olympic gold medallist in the Laser class, commented: “It was great to see some extremely tight racing today, the standard of competition was very high. The conditions out on Hayling Bay were very challenging and all the sailors did great to make the most out of light winds and strong tides.”
“It was also great to get out there to see the RS:X sailors compete as I recently worked with them in Palma on their recovery routines. The guys were really giving it some which is always great to see” said Goodison.
RYA Youth Racing Manager
Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, commented: “This week has been a fantastic week and a very challenging week for the sailors with a range of weather conditions really testing the young competitors. Hayling Island can provide strong tides so the sailors who have come out on top have done very well to dominate the regatta.
“We owe the race teams a huge debt of gratitude for squeezing the best out of the conditions and getting the sailors racing as much as they have done.
“Thanks also must go to the Hayling Island Sailing Club for their hospitality this week, and to the team of dedicated volunteers and parents, without whom this event simply could not happen.”
For more information and final results from the 2011 RYA Volvo Youth National Championships, or to view the event daily vodcast please visit www.ryaracingevents.org.uk
2011 RYA Volvo Youth National Championships main results:
1st Laser Standard U19 – Jack Wetherell (Selby)
1st Laser Standard U21 – Alex Mills Barton (Seaford)
1st Laser Radial Overall & 1st Laser Radial boy – Cameron Douglas (Wirall)
1st Laser Radial girl & 1st English Radial girl – Rheanna Pavey (Ipswich)
1st 420 boys – Craig Dibb (Andover) & Charlie Cox (Lymington)
1st 420 girls – Jess Lavery & Georgie Mothersele (Emsworth)
1st 29er overall & 1st 29er boys – Henry Lloyd-Williams / Sam Batten (Lymington)
1st 29er girls – Vikki Payne & Stephanie Orton (Emsworth)
1st Windsurfing Boy Trophy – Sam Sills (Launceston)
1st Windsurfing Girl Trophy – Jade Rogers (Derbyshire)
1st Spitfire overall – Rupert White (Brightlingsea) and Nicola Boniface (Polegate)
Photo © Paul Wyeth/RYA.