Luke Raistrick and Adam Purcell
RYA’s top youngsters prove themselves at RYA/UKWA National Windsurfing Championships
The RYA’s best young windsurfing talent took to the waters of Weymouth and Portland this weekend (31 October, 1 November) where they scooped the crop of titles up for grabs at the annual RYA/UKWA National Windsurfing Championships.
Held at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA), the event which traditionally rounds up the competitive windsurfing season, saw over 120 of the UK’s top windsurfers battle it out for National titles in their respective classes with RYA squad sailors picking up an impressive haul.
Hampered by impossible winds gusting up to 40 knots on the second day of the event, the championships were decided by Saturday’s racing which saw contrasting light shifty winds making for some challenging conditions across the classes.
Making the most of his preferred light wind conditions, Skegness’ 13-year-old Robert York, put together an impressive four race performance finishing eighth overall in the Techno class securing the boys 6.8 class victory and National title comfortably ahead of fellow RYA National Techno Squad sailors Oliver Bradley-Baker and Max Bushell.
In the girls 6.8 Techno class 13-year-old National Squad sailor Imogen Sills started her National title campaign well beating World champion twin sister Saskia in her first race. Her success however was short lived unfortunately and after being struck down by illness at lunch time and rendered unable to compete in the afternoon, Saskia was able to race ahead and cruise to glory adding the National title to her World victory.
RYA National Squad sailor and 6.8 Techno World and European champion 14-year-old Kieran Martin stepped up into the 7.8 Techno class for the event taking on Macclesfield’s 14-year-old Adam Purcell for the 7.8 Techno title. Cheadle’s Martin put in an absolutely blinding debut performance winning every one of his four races to claim the National title and a well deserved class victory, with Luke Raistrick, who’s just been selected for the National Junior Squad, finishing a fantastic 2nd. This was only Luke’s second event in the 7.8 fleet, and he’s come a long way since he won the “best newcomer in the 4.5 fleet” award in 2006 at this very event.
Purcell however didn’t go away empty handed, picking up third in the class as well as being awarded the annual Robert Cartwright Memorial Trophy for his performance and general attitude, progress and commitment throughout the year, personifying what windsurfing meant to Zone Squad sailor Robert Cartwright. The recipient of the award is chosen each year by Robert’s family and previous winners have included Skandia Team GBR sailor Richard Hamilton, Paul Sibley, Lindsey Smith and Matt Brown.
Cheltenham’s 15-year-old Laurel Townsend followed Martin’s lead in stepping up into the 7.8 Techno class at the event and finishing fifth overall in the Techno fleet the National Squad sailor just piped Clevedon’s Noelle Finch to the National title.
RS:X Youth Squad sailor and girls World champion Izzy Hamilton, 17, from Holsworthy, cruised to a comfortable win in her class finishing sixth overall ahead of fellow west country competitors second placed Sophie Bailey (17,Bude) and third placed Becky Plummer (16, Bridgwater).
The boy’s RS:X youth crown went to 17-year-old George Bowles from Brigg, North Lincs, who finished fourth overall ahead of Skandia Team GBR’s Bryony Shaw who picked up honours in the open RS:X Womens class.
18-year-old Clevedon sailor Ali Masters, now training in the elite Skandia Team GBR stable, proved himself king of the RS:X class posting bullets in all his races and claiming the open RS:X Men’s title.
Other youth victories went to Richard Jones in the Formula Youth class and Sam Latham in the Raceboard Youth class.
Long standing National Champions, husband and wife duo Annette and Robert Kent wiped the floor in the overall Raceboard class with Robert winning all four of his races and Annette finishing streaks ahead of any other women’s competitors; tenth place overall. Chris Gibson and Janet Pain picked up veteran titles with Andy Mexome clinching the unlimited title.
Competing at his first event as UKWA Chairman, Bob Ingram posted an impressive second place in the Formula National class behind Chris Bond, with Tim Gibson picking up honours in the Master class and James Briggs in the open class.