Excellence and endeavour were celebrated in equal measure as the second ever RYA National Junior Windsurfing Championships were staged at Whitwell this weekend (6-7 June).
A total of six National titles were awarded to the top boys and girls in each of the competing 3.5, 4.5 and 5.5 fleets.
But, with the event also acting as a first competitive outing for many less experienced sailors who have progressed through the RYA’s Team15 grassroots scheme, there were also prizes for those youngsters demonstrating determination and commitment on the Rutland Water reservoir.
Seven races were completed across the weekend with sailors contending with breezes of eight-nine knots on Saturday morning rising to gusting 20 knots by the afternoon while on Sunday the start of racing was delayed until 2pm as heavy rain and thunderstorms battered the venue.
With all sailors competing on Bic Techno boards, West Kirby Warriors’ Issac Bradley-Baker sailed off with the overall 3.5 title, posting nothing lower than a second place in his series, while Zara Petts (Hythe & Saltwood SC) finished as the top girl in the fleet.
In the 4.5s Harry Davis (North Lincs & Humberside SC) claimed the top honours as Davis’ clubmate Sarah Labourne, winner of an RYA Eric Twiname Championships windsurfing title last month, landed the top girls’ prize as she finished second overall.
On the 5.5 boards, Robert Griffiths (North Lincs & Humberside SC) landed his second successive RYA National crown, having won the 4.5 class title last year, while it was Dani Conroy (Hythe & Saltwood SC) who was named the top girl in the class.
Meanwhile, Zed Spencer-Milnes (Manley Mere Katz), who finished one race on Saturday but all three races on Sunday, was rewarded for his impressive improvement over the weekend with the 3.5 special recognition prize.
The 4.5 prize went to Charlotte Seal (North Lincs & Humberside SC) who finished every race on her first ever appearance at a National standard event and in the 5.5s it was Zak Brubert (who was specially commended for finishing eighth at what was his first ever windsurfing competition.
Helen Cartwright, event organiser, was delighted with the performances of the sailors at both the front and towards the back of the fleets.
She said: “The front of the fleets were really competitive with people really in the serious business of winning National titles but it was so pleasing that so many of those whose first National standard event it was showed notable improvements as the weekend went on.
“We try to encourage a learning environment for the first timers and younger sailors so that the whole issue of being at a National standard event is less intimidating. Those sailors get very detailed briefings about the courses before they go out and there are coaches on hand to answer any questions on the water before the start.
“To enable the less experienced sailors to get to grips with the racing as the event goes on, we start the weekend setting quite easy courses but as the weekend progresses we introduce more difficult courses with more upwind legs for example and there are always lots of opportunities for the sailors to ask questions.
“A lot of newer sailors started the weekend nervous and only worried about themselves and whether they would make it round the course but as the event went on you could see the confidence growing as suddenly they started counting scores and working out who they needed to beat to move up a place. It was a really good weekend and both the sailors and we as coaches learned so much.
For more information about and full results from the 2009 RYA National Junior Windsurfing Championships visit www.ryaracingevents.org.uk
· Newly-crowned RYA Junior Windsurfing girls’ champions Dani Conroy (Techno 5.5, left) and Zara Petts (Techno 3.5, right). Credit Eric Petts.