George Bowles on his way to North Zone 7.8 victory
Stars of Tomorrow Shine at 2007 RYA Zone Championships
There were star performances aplenty as Britain’s top Junior windsurfers overcame testing wind conditions to shine at the 2007 RYA Zone Championships (29-30 September).
Some 125 windsurfers – a Zone Championships best – took to the water alongside almost 1,000 young dinghy sailors across seven Zone venues throughout England and Scotland in what is widely-regarded as the highlight of the RYA Junior racing calendar.
Oxford’s Sam Jenkins, 12, arguably eclipsed the pack for performance of the weekend as his straight flush of five wins out of five on the 5.5 class saw him romp to the South Zone Championships title at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA).
But Jenkins’ feat was closely followed by William Rowles, 15, who took advantage of home territory to notch up four wins and a second to triumph in the 7.8 class at WPNSA. Weymouth and Portland proved to be a happy hunting ground again for 11-year-old Imogen Sills (Roadford) who followed up her recent RYA Youth and Masters national success at the same venue to take South Zone 4.5 class gold. Peter Young (Watersports T15) saw off a determined day two challenge from Tom Davies (SW Windsurfing) for 6.8 class victory.
It was clean sweeps all round for 15-year-old George Bowles (North Lincolnshire SC) and Luke Raistrick, 12, (Pugneys Pirates) whose four sails, four wins record at Notts County Sailing Club eased them to North Zone 7.8 and 4.5 class glory respectively.
Just one point split the 5.5 class top spots in Nottinghamshire, 12-year-old Joseph Dickinson (Coverham) narrowly edging out West Kirby Warrior Oliver Bradley-Baker (11) for the North Zone title while it was also almost too close to call in the 6.8 event as Kieran Martin (Carsington) got the better of Pugneys’ Joe Bennett by winning the fourth and final race.
At Bewl Valley Sailing Club, Hythe and Saltwood prospect Alex Barry’s phenomenal seven bullets in the 4.5 class landed him the South East Zone crown by a huge margin while clubmate Stuart Hards also managed an impressive six out six en route to 6.8 class glory. Sam Conroy provided a hat-trick of South East titles for Hythe and Saltwood winning the 7.8 while Robert York (Rutland) and home sailor Glenn Sullivan (BVSA) claimed the 3.5 and 5.5 classes respectively.
North of the border, consistency was the key for Calum Morgan who despite not landing a race win took the overall title in a fiercely-contested 6.8 class where just two points separated first from fifth. Torin Prescott’s day one bullet hat-trick handed him 5.5 class gold while two firsts and a second did the same for David Taylor in the 4.5 class. Just two sailors did battle in the 7.8 event, Christopher Dowson comfortably coming out on top.
Helen Cartwright, National Windsurfing Coach, admitted she was delighted with the level of performance seen across the Zones.
She said: “To see so many windsurfers competing at the Zone Championships is a great indication that the future for British windsurfing looks healthy. The fact that a high percentage of these sailors were on the BIC Techno board, which is the Junior One design class is testament to the Zone programme’s success. Large fleets of sailors on the BIC Techno One Design creates fair racing and a really good environment in which to progress future champions.”