It was time for the final countdown at Lochwinnoch on Saturday 21st August, with the fourth and last of this year’s RYA T15 Scottish interclub series. This event would decide which team won the Scottish series, and would qualify to enter the RYA T15 Champions Cup alongside winners from every UK region. RYA T15 windsurfing clubs are based all over the UK, and are for kids up to the age of 15 to learn to windsurf and to race.
Wind was a healthy 9/10 knots for the morning racing but dropped to 6/7 in the afternoon, much to the relief of Alexander Walker of Clyde Barracudas, who in the morning pleaded, “This is great seeing all these windsurfers here but can someone turn the wind down?”
There were over 30 young windsurfers, from five different Scottish clubs, at this final. They ranged from sailors with only a couple of months windsurfing experience to old hands of three years. And it was the newcomers who excelled in the 3.5 metre class. This class was closely contested by two sailors who only started windsurfing three months ago with their team, Largs Sail Training Association. Kate Lennie just pipped team mate Alex Mackie to first place, with home team sailor Beth Wilson of Clyde Barracudas in third place. With a dozen sailors, this was the most popular class, suggesting that T15 clubs are helping many newcomers into the sport.
In the 4.5 metres, Stefan Goldbeck, age only 11 years, but with two years experience under his belt, took the class for the Loch Insh Monsters, but in second place was another newcomer from Largs, Rhys Warwick. Kirsty McCorkindale from Clyde Barracudas took third, ensuring that three teams were represented on the podium.
The stand out performance in any class was by Tristan Levie of the Monsters. Tristan took four out of the five races to record a perfect score after the discard. Nonetheless, he was pushed hard especially in the fourth race by team mate Rory McKeachan, who took second, with a third Monster, Eilidh Sutherland in third.
The Monsters were also to the fore in the fastest class, the Techno 6.8 metre. Jan Goldbeck won from fellow Monster Dean Hargreaves, while Holly McPhail of Clyde Barracudas took third.
So the Monsters excelled in the faster classes, while the Largs team, formed just this year, did very well in the introductory classes, where they often overcame much more experienced opponents. The Monsters duly recorded their fourth win to make a clean sweep this year to take the series, while Largs took the runner up spot in their debut season, with Clyde Barracudas third.
Supported by industry leaders Tushingham/Starboard, Windsurf magazine, Boards magazine, Neil Pryde and Boardwise, T15 was set up by the RYA to help make windsurfing more accessible and appealing to youngsters at a grass roots level.
Fun and informal training sessions take place at T15 clubs all over the country for kids up to the age of 15, which are run weekly by specialist RYA coaches. The T15 inter-club championship takes place regionally over the summer adding a competitive edge and race training for those keen to hone their skills. Kit can be borrowed from the clubs and the cost of sessions is kept low.
To get involved with Team15 and locate your nearest local club visit www.team15.org.uk or contact the RYA on 0845 345 0400.