Louis Morris joins Boards to report on the raceboard fleet from the 2014 RYA/UKWA National windsurfing Championships (Inland Nationals, Junior Youth and Masters championship, Team 15 Champions Cup):
For 2014, the RYA Youth and Masters were combined with the National Junior Championships, Team 15 champions cup, and UKWA Inland nationals to form one massive event at Rutland Sailing club. There were 220 windsurfers and it was pretty busy on the beach and on the water, but thanks to some good organising, the event went very smoothly! There were 27 raceboards entered, of which 6 were youth: the highest youth entry for a long time.
On Saturday, the wind was quite light and very shifty, which lead to lots of shuffling up and lead changes during the race which was pretty exciting stuff. It was the kind of conditions which Rob Kent and Guy Spreckley excel in. Rob got it wrong in the first race (and Mark Kay got it even more wrong) allowing me to win with Guy in 2nd, but in the next 2 races, he sailed brilliantly to take the win, whilst I was playing catch up having ended up on the wrong side of some shifts. By the last race, the wind had picked up to about 10 knots or so: enough for me to plane all the way downwind and be faster than most upwind, with a good start and a tactically sound upwind, once ahead I just had to play it safe in the middle of the course and won comfortably. Myself and Rob ended the day on tied points, with Guy in 3rd.
On Sunday, there were some gusts up to 15 knots but still lulls of 8 knots or less. It was still shifty, but with the wind slightly more easterly than Saturday, there was usually a big gain on the right side of the course. However there were a few shifts and gusts that undid this gain, and there were a few times when I had to dig myself out of a bit of a hole. Having a sail with the power to keep pointing and railing through the lulls yet convert gusts into acceleration rather than drag really helped me to keep my speed up through the gusty conditions and capitalise on shifts to recover some sticky positions. Like the last race on Sunday, my downwind speed was best than most, and I managed to win all of the races.
Mark Kay found another gear and was fighting back with 3 2nds and a 3rd, he was certainly a lot quicker than on Saturday, and it sometimes felt like he was attached to the back of my board by a 50m bit of string! Rob Kent did just enough to keep his 2nd overall, Guy Spreckley didn’t quite have the speed to keep up his amazing performance from the first day so slipped into 5th overall behind an outrageously consistent Tom Naylor. Tom was flying upwind as usual, and put some effort in downwind to get 9 4th places and a 5th: enough to get him 1st veteran and 4th overall.
With 8 sailors racing on 8.5 (youth + ladies) there was some noteworthy battles there as well. Lewis Barnes usually races as a heavyweight 9.5, but borrowed an 8.5 to win the Youth national title by an impressive margin. Annette Kent was first lady: only two points ahead of Lewis and 3 ahead of Harriet Ellis. 2nd and 3rd youth was too close to call, with Jenna Gibson having the edge on her XR-Race 8.5 over Robin Mcallister on Saturday. Robin fought back in the stronger winds on Sunday to finish on tied points, but ended up in 3rd on the tie break rule.
I have to mention Phil Hards, who had some of the best starts in the business as well as some serious upwind speed, all he needs now is a Starboard Phantom and he’d keep up downwind too! Also well done to my brother Ross who borrowed my 8.5 Lightning and ancient Megacat in his first National contest since Team 15 cup in 2011 (on 5.8) he was very quick upwind, especially when it got windy.
Raceboard Results summary:
1st Overall – Louis Morris, 1st Lightweight (Tushingham/Starboard)
2nd Overall – Rob Kent, 1st Master (Tushingham/Starboard)
3rd Overall – Mark Kay, 1st Heavyweight (Demon/Starboard)
4th Overall – Tom Naylor, 1st Veteran (Tushingham/Starboard)
1st Lady – Annette Kent, 6th Overall (Tushingham/Starboard)
2nd Lady – Harriet Ellis, 8th Overall (Demon/Starboard)
3rd Lady – Jenna Gibson, 12th Overall (Tushingham/Fanatic)
1st Youth – Lewis Barnes, 7th Overall (Demon/Starboard)
2nd Youth – Jenna Gibson, 12th Overall (Tushingham/Fanatic)
3rd Youth – Robin McAllister, 13th Overall (Tushingham/Starboard)