Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth claimed their second consecutive win at the RYA Olympic Classes National Ranking Series held at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy this weekend (18-19 October). With an average 20-25 knots and spells of sunshine across the two days of racing at the London 2012 sailing venue, the seven Olympic and three Paralympic classes enjoyed some thrilling racing as all classes completed the full schedule of races. The British Sailing Team’s Dobson and Ainsworth, who sealed event honours on the opening weekend of the series a fortnight ago, continued their fine form in this domestic Olympic Classes competition by claiming five out of six race wins in the 12-strong 49erFX fleet.
The duo finished six points clear of the regatta’s international guests Erin Rafuse and Danielle Boyd from Halifax, Canada, while their teammates Erin Berry and Ingrid Merry took third. In the 49er event, Dylan Fletcher also grabbed a second National Ranking Series win, but this time with stand-in crew Stuart Bithell. James Peters and Fynn Sterritt also mirrored their performance from the opening event by claiming the second step on the podium. Canadians David Mori and Justin Barnes rounded their weekend off in third.
Connor Bainbridge topped the billing in the RS:X 9.5 windsurfing event, notching up three race wins to finish two points clear of Nick Dempsey, while Bryony Shaw was the top RS:X 8.5 sailor, claiming event honours ahead of James Hatcher in second and Henry Bloodworth in third. The British Sailing Team’s 470 European Champions Luke Patience and Elliott Willis came out on top to clinch their first RYA National Ranking Series win of the year after missing the opening event, with an imposing five race wins across the course of the weekend. Olympic silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark were the top women’s pairing and third overall in the 470 fleet.
Three race wins for Podium Potential sailor Peter McCoy on Sunday was enough for him to seal weekend victory in the heavyweight Finn class, while Tom Phipps and Mary Rook took the win in the Nacra 17 class ahead of Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves. In the Paralympic classes, Megan Pascoe pipped Helena Lucas took event honours with an unblemished scorecard across the four race series in the 2.4mR event, while John Robertson and Hannah Stodel, sailing with Sam Brearey, also sealed all six race wins in the Sonar event. Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell topped the leaderboard in the SKUD class.
Barrie Edgington, British Sailing Team Podium Potential Squad Manager, commented: “This weekend was probably one of the best and most successful October RYA Olympic Classes National Ranking events we have had. Fortunately, the weather forecast didn’t come to fruition giving the sailors some fantastic weather and great racing conditions. “We witnessed an incredibly high standard of racing across both days of racing with the Canadian teams in the 49er and 49erFX providing tough competition for our British competitors which is always great to see. The Race Management teams at WPNSA were once again excellent, and we now look forward to the third and final instalment of the Series which will take place at Hayling Island Sailing on the first weekend in November.” (www.rya.org.uk)