ASHBOURNES WINDSURFERS OFF TO NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
Ashbourne’s youth windsurfing team, the Carsington Comets, won the final event of the midlands region Team15 (T15) Youth Windsurfing Championship held at Carsington Sport and Leisure this weekend (Saturday 5 September), holding off massive competition and proving themselves the best team in the region. Now crowned regional champions they will go on to compete at the National Championship Final next month.
Following a nail biter of a championship this season, in which the Comets and Pitsford Prates (Northampton) have been neck and neck scoring extremely close points all the way through, Saturday’s event was always set to be a real showstopper.
Split into 4 sail size classes, the regions teams, Carsington Comets, Pitsford Pirates and Notts County Outlaws, battled against each other in very windy conditions making racing rather challenging for the smallest 3.5m sail class sailors but perfect for the more experienced 6.8m sailors who ripped through their seven races.
Several close finishes were seen particularly in the 6.8m class in which Pirate, Luke Taylor and Comet, Matt Leahy swapped first and second places in the first couple of races. Taylor pushed through in the later races albeit with Leahy on his heels and secured the Pirates a 6.8m class event victory.
The Pirates in-fact pulled off three more class victories at the event with Alice Butts (4.5m) and Callum Skinner (5.5m) making their marks on the competition. The Pirates legend, Joe Partick, successfully completed his unbeaten record in the 3.5m class this championship by claiming a further victory.
Despite the Pirates winning every class victory, due to the team centric scoring system of T15, it was the Comets who posted the best team points score of the event securing them the coveted T15 Midlands Regional Crown title and the chance to represent the region at the national final – the Champions Cup.
Event organiser Ben Hodgson commented; “The championship has been thrilling this year and I’ve seen some really excellent improvement from the kids windsurfing. When the scores are so close it means there is everything to play for and the racing has been very close and great fun to watch.”
He continued: “The Comets have done really well to beat the Pirates who have sailed exceptionally well this season. The pressure they have had to with stand from the Pirates consistently top class windsurfing will stand them in good stead when they are taking on the UK’s best teams at the Champions Cup – we have every confidence they can do the Midlands proud and come back with a great result from the final, perhaps even the 2009 cup!”
The Champions Cup will take place over the weekend 10-11 October at Rutland Water and will see over 100 young windsurfers compete for the ultimate title of the Championship – T15 National Champion 2009.
Supported by industry leaders Neilson, Tushingham/Starboard, Windsurf magazine, Boards magazine and Neil Pryde, 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 find out how to get involved and your local club visit www.team15.org.uk or contact the RYA 0845 345 0400.