On the weekend of the 1st, 2nd September, 13 juniors turned up to Paxton Lakes Sailing Club, for the annual weekend of the youth trophy, including both on the water coaching and racing.  For the whole weekend it was rather light winds, which proved challenging for some of the elder sailors. The first day would include training in the morning, followed by 4 races in the afternoon, sailed as two back-to-back races. The Sunday would consist of 6 races, sailed as back-to-back races, except for the last race, which would be a double point’s medal race, which wouldn’t be able to be discarded. All the races would be sailed over a short course, except for the last race; and would all be short in length, generally 15-30mins. This meant that all the races would involve a lot of concentration, and would be high endurance.

On the Saturday morning, everyone rigged up, and were then briefed by Gareth Russell. The sailors were split into two different ability groups (novice racers, and then improver racers). The groups then went round all the boats, and Gareth helped to tune them better, and also race rig them. Then the different groups launched and did their respective exercises. The improver racers were also on lookers to the ‘fight’ which always occurred between Matt Bowden and Bobby Martin on the water.
After the first two races were sailed, Bobby was in the lead with 3 points, and Matt and Tara Butterfield were joint second, both with 6 points. After all the races on the Saturday had been sailed, Bobby was still in the lead with 4 points, Tara was in second with 6 points, and then Matt, Tori Carrington and Andy Martin were all joint with 10 points. It was proving to be an exciting weekend for all.

On the Sunday morning, all competitors participated in a fitness session which was run by Gareth. Most, if not all found it tiring, and it was noted that everyone needed to improve their fitness in order to sail much better in the future. It was also highlighted that being light on your feet is crucial, it all winds, however especially light wind sailing. After everyone had then recovered, we were then briefed as to the days racing.

Two races were sailed in the morning, and Bobby managed to increase his lead by being placed first and second respectively. This now meant he was carrying 7 points. Tara was still in second, but had fallen back a bit, now carrying 13 points. Matt and Tori were both in joint third still, but had decreased the point difference, as they both had 15 points.

Races 7 and 8 were then sailed, Matt winning the first, followed closely by Tori and the Bobby. Race 8 was won by Bobby, beating Andy by a second, and then Matt came third. Race 9 was then sailed, which was won by Tori, Bobby came second and Andy third.

This was it then, the wait before the final race. Many were nervous, and some of the elder ones were looking at the results, calculating what they would have to do to win. It was all rather tight up at the top end, with Bobby first with 6 points, Tori with 10, and Matt with 12. Andy and Tara were also joint fourth, both carrying 13 points each. As it was a double point medal race, Tori would only have to beat Bobby by 3 places to win, and whoever won out of Tori and Matt in the last race would decide who came second and third. As the race was a pursuit race, it was much easier for all the competitors to see who was in first overall, so you could plan your strategy much better.
The last race started and slowly everyone’s respective starts were sounded. One complete surprise however, was that Matt and Bobby were actually helping each other for this race, as both wanted to sail it well. It was very tense for all the racers; however Matt and Bobby managed to sail through the fleet together in their Laser Radials, hotly tailed by Tori in a Laser Full Rig. In the end, Bobby and Matt sailed into first and second respectively.  However, Tori then appeared behind Matt, with about two minutes left to sail. It was all very tense between them, as they both wanted second place. In the end, Tori was unable to sail past Matt, which meant that Bobby won the event, Matt came second, and Tori third. After the race had been sailed, both Matt and Tori came over and capsized Bobby, to celebrate his victory and also to make sure he got wet, as he hadn’t capsized all weekend.

Bobby won the event, carrying only 8 points, and Matt and Tori tied on 16 points, however because of count back Matt won second and Tori third. Tom managed to come first out of the novices with 58 points, followed closely behind by Charlotte Sharp, with 59 points.
It was a great weekend enjoyed by all, and thankfully the weather stayed sunny throughout. A big thank you to the safety boats crews, galley staff and race officers. Further thanks go to Pat Overs and Gareth for the training and also for organising the event.

Full Results here

Go to our Facebook page to see pictures of the weekend