Pic: Antony Burdett-Clark
HORDES DESCEND ON WEYMOUTH
180 windsurfers, the largest entry since the event’s inception, turned out
for the RYA National Youth Windsurfing Championships and RYA UKWA Masters
Championships 2004 on the 25/26 September.
Held in Weymouth the event delivered everything that it promised and
competitors enjoyed great racing in near perfect conditions. The
championship was split into two courses, the youth and Masters racing on
one and the Juniors on another. From the two courses a total of twelve
classes were racing, each one with a different sail size
Of the 180 entrants 58 were part of T15, an RYA initiative encouraging
youngsters under the age of 15 into the sport and a further 50 were
newcomers who had never raced at a national level before. The event is
unique in that it provides racing for parents and children as entries are
limited to those under 19 and over 35. The diverse nature of the event was
celebrated when it was highlighted that the youngest competitor was eight
and the oldest sixty-five.
Competitors were welcomed by 15 knots of wind on Saturday, perfect
conditions for all the windsurfers. Following a full day of 4 races the
runners and riders soon established themselves and in the majority of
classes the winners overnight were champions overall.
In the T15 classes Izzy Hamilton was on a sharp learning curve, winning
her first ever national championship by just two points from Jack Brooks
in the 3.5m class. In the 4.5m class Sam Sills, who last year won the 3.5m
class, repeated his performance and took his second national title. In the
largest T15 class in terms of sail size, Michael Nickson won every race on
Saturday and on Sunday sailed consistently to ensure he won the national title.
In the Junior and Youth classes the competitors were racing under added
pressure with places in the RYA National Youth and Junior Squads up for
grabs. The Aloha 5.5, National Junior Class, MJOD, IMCO and Formula
classes all enjoyed new winners. Respectively Lewis Robinson, Anthony
Scales, Richard Hamilton, Peter Bird and Harry Solven all walked away form
Weymouth as national champions.
In the masters class Jerry Solven followed in his sons wake by winning the
Unlimited class and in the Formula fleet the lighter airs that persisted
throughout Sunday meant that no racing could take place. Therefore,
winning every race on Saturday meant that Xavier Feriet won the Formula class.
The Robert Cartwright Trophy, awarded for endeavour shown throughout the
year and was awarded to Beth Williamson. Beth was awarded the trophy in
recognition of the progress she has made over the year and her brilliant
result of fourth place at the recent European Championship. Pat and Sarah
Cartwright were once again on hand to present the beautiful trophy to Beth.
Preceding Saturday’s evening entertainment, competitors were invited to a
talk by bronze medallist, Nick Dempsey. Nick is Great Britain’s first
windsurfing medallist after winning bronze in Athens and like so many of
the budding windsurfers, began his rise to glory at the national
Speaking to Helen Cartwright after the event she said:
“This years Championships was probably the best ever and this is firstly
due to the huge pleasure and boost that Nicks Olympic medal has given
British Windsurfing and secondly due to the fact that team15 is working
wonders in clubs all over Britain. The windsurfers were exceptional in
attitude and talent and to see 11 year olds with blistered and red raw
hands still soldiering on and determined to win is awe inspiring and gives
great hope and promise for the future of British windsurfing”.