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National & International Event Reports

Henry Lloyd Williams & Sam Batten win the 29er event at the RYA Youth National Championships

2010_henryandsam29erryayouthThe 2010 under-19 championships took place over 5 days, starting on the Easter weekend, at the Olympic sailing venue in Portland harbour. Saturday and Easter Sunday were set aside for measurement & registration before the first of 16 scheduled races started on Easter Monday.

We arrived at the host club, Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA), early on Friday and had a good day practicing on the competition course area in strong winds & rain.

On the Saturday we submitted our boat for scruteneering, but the event measurer concluded that it did not meet class rules (a new material we had used to pack the dagger board slot & rudder stock was not considered legal under the 2010 updated measurement rules). Following lengthy consultations with the RYA’s Technical Manager and the 29er World-Wide Measurer based in Perth, Australia, it was eventually confirmed on the Sunday that the boat could not be used at the competition. This left us with less than 24 hours to switch to our old boat, now only used for training, and prepare it for the competition. Our race boat is still the subject of some debate and we await a final decision from the Internal Sailing Federation (ISAF) who is testing material samples from the boat.

Racing began on Easter Monday with some high winds and exciting racing.  The winds decreased during the week, to such an extent that by Friday there was no sailing due to insufficient wind.  The Princess Royal came to open Portland House, the new RYA accommodation facility for the Olympics in the middle of the week, and came out on the water to watch the racing and talk with some of the sailors afterwards.

We sailed a consistent series performing well in both strong and light winds despite having to swap to our stand-by hull. We finished well ahead of the rest of the fleet being 17 points clear of our nearest rival and in an unassailable position with a day and a half to go before the end of the championships. As a result of our win, we have been selected as the British 29er entry to the ISAF Youth World Championships in Istanbul in July.

Being both only 16 years old, we are among the youngest sailors to ever have won the RYA Youth National Championships or be selected to represent Britain at the ISAF Youth World Championships.

2010_29erpodium_henryandsam

The 29er is one of a new breed of skiff dinghy that offers fast, exciting sailing. It’s an RYA youth boat, and is the feeder for the Olympic high performance 49er.

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