More than 100 young sailors from across the region hit the water at Queen Mary Sailing Club (QMSC) for the Youth Open meeting on 15 October 2011.
The youngsters, many of who were introduced to sailing through the RYA’s OnBoard Scheme, came from 10 different sailing clubs as far afield as Oxford, Haversham, Docklands and the south coast.
Despite people waking up to ice on their cars, the weather was fantastic with sun all day and light winds.
Catherine Rawson of the host club said: “We were delighted to be hosting the biggest youth open we have seen for many years. The weather was very kind to us and we were pleased to see competitors from so far afield.”
To encourage the new competitors races were kept short, and on the water coaching was given to the back of the fleets.
Max and Sally Clapp of Royal Southern Yacht Club lead the 30 strong Feva fleet and, with four firsts, also collected the QM Youth Open Champions title for having the best score in any fleet. Courtney Bilborough and Orla Scott from Docklands scored two seconds and a third, as did fellow Docklands’ sailors Olly Scott and Tom Mitchell, the former pair taking second place on the countback system.
The great turn out in this relatively new class showed how well it has taken off, and the RYA has just announced the creation of a South East Feva Squad, which will offer more training to these youngsters.
In the Topper fleet George Hunter of Haversham Sailing Club was first of the 31 entrants, with three straight wins. QMSC sailors James Cook and Patrick Croghan took second and third.
Local knowledge obviously paid dividends as 8 out of the top 10 Toppers were from QMSC.
The Laser series was closely contested with Cameron Tweedle of Oxford Sailing Club just taking the overall win from Will Harris of QMSC. Both had two firsts and a second, Cameron taking the decision on the countback system.
RYA Sailing Development Officer Tim Anderton said: "This event has grown hugely in the past few years as the regions’ RYA OnBoard centres encourage their youngsters to join the event as their first regatta. It is aimed at entry level competitors, and has generated a really good open and friendly atmosphere.
“The clubs’ willingness to provide coaching to the back half of the fleet is a great inspiration to the youngsters and makes the event much more appealing to all levels of sailor. I think this event will continue to grow and become even more popular in the coming years. "
“Thanks and congratulations go to everyone who entered and to those centres and parents who really supported the youngsters in this regatta.”