The Manx Youth Sailing Squad travelled to Draycote Water last weekend to compete in the RS Tera Inland Championships. This was the first time that the newly formed MYSS attended a championship in the UK and they put in a performance to be proud of. There were a total of thirty boats entered for the series and the competition at the top of the fleet was tough, some sailors had come from the GBR Optimist Squad into the Tera Class and some sailors had World Championship experience.
A total of six races were scheduled for the weekend, but the two races planned for Saturday were cancelled due to strong winds. Sunday provided superb racing conditions. The first race was sailed in fairly light airs, then there was a break for lunch and three races were sailed in the afternoon in a steadily increasing wind. By the close of the final race the wind was up to a good force four occasionally touching a five in the gusts.
Race 1 was won by the Manx Youth Sailing Squad’s youngest and smallest member Greg Kelly who sailed an absolutely faultless race. He had an incredible start, a port tack flyer at the favoured pin end, and crossed the whole fleet on port tack. From here Greg kept his cool and covered the fleet upwind rounding the windward mark first and then accelerating away from the fleet downwind and further increasing his lead. He held it together and led the fleet around the second lap of the course and finishing the first race of the series with a win and much cheering from parents ashore!
Race 2 started in a little more breeze. This time it was MYSS member Izzy Sharpe who had an impressive start and led the fleet from the pin end to the left side of the course. Nick Parkes also had a good start and headed right up the beat. The wind went lighter on the left of the course and the stronger breeze favoured the boats which went right up the first beat. James Kelly had pushed this start a little too much, he was in the perfect spot but just a wee bit too early so he was forced to dip back behind the line before restarting. He was able to take advantage of the stronger breeze on the right and had caught up with the top ten by the windward mark. After lap one Nick was lying in seventh place and James in eighth. Positions changed again on the upwind leg of the race and then a couple of close battles ensued downwind. Both the Kelly lads each had their own fight to the finish, both showed superior downwind speed and each gained one place on the last leg of the race. The MYSS team scored three top ten places in this race with Greg in 5th place, Nick in 9th and James in 10th.
Despite the extra wind the racing remained close and the quality of starts impressed those watching. The MYSS were a credit to their coaches, particularly on the start lines they were all right up there on the line when the gun went. Once again Nick was quick off the line for race three with Hannah Howitt and Izzy battling it out just behind him. The girls held their own as the wind continued to build. Hannah, Izzy and Amie Shute all sailed consistently throughout the series, it was good to see them hiking out, defending their positions, gaining places on the beats and at the marks. Young Greg sailed another impressive race and scored 6th in race three.
Yet more breeze for race four and another impressive start from Nick who got away well but unfortunately had to do penalty turns following a port and starboard incident on the beat . There was some sibling rivalry on this start, both James and Greg were looking for a clear pin end start, it was always unlikely that both boats would get away with a good start and so the siblings left themselves with a bit of catching up to do. James put in a couple of tight mark roundings taking several places at two marks. Amie was sailing well upwind in the wind with good boatspeed. Hannah and Izzy’s mid-fleet battles continued with Izzy just beating Hannah to finish 13th & 14th respectively in this race. Greg really sailed well in the windiest conditions of the day, as the lightest member of the MYSS he had to hike extra hard to keep the boat going, but he held his own upwind and really flew downwind to finish this final race in 6th place.
Since the squad was selected at the IOM Youth Dinghy Champs in July four intensive race training weekends have held at 7th Wave training provided by Phil Hardisty, Don Edwards, Rob Cowell and Jenni Quillin. The efforts put in by coaches and squad members during the summer have certainly paid off, the squad have showed significant improvement during all the training sessions and their results at the RS Tera Inlands reflects this. Thanks go to all the coaches, supporters of the MYSS, Jon Quillin at 7th Wave for towing their boats to Draycote for the team to use and Pete Ashurst for the loan of the car.
Next year the MYSS will travel to the RS Tera Nationals at Dabchicks SC in Colchester, Essex on 19th & 20th September. Selection trials for the 2009 MYSS will be held during April, followed by four training weekends throughout the summer. There are a total of six places available to sailors aged 14 and under, if anyone would like further information regarding the MYSS or to express an interest in next year’s squad please contact Jenni at 7th Wave on 836366.