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Photos by Hawkins family

Tricky, shifty conditions greeted the competitors this weekend at Carsington for the Youth and Junior National Championships. Carsington has always been a great venue for the Mirror class, a personal favourite of my own because of it’s welcoming attitude towards the sailors and the good wind. The wind was of medium strength which suited all sailors and allowed some fantastic, competitive sailing to kick off the racing season with a bang. The event was combined with squad training so the weekend began with about an hours worth of pre-event practicing where all boats got a feel for the water. This time gave an opportunity to figure out the wind bends and areas of land that would affect the race course in the afternoon. 

After a quick lunch, the fleet set out for the first 3 races which would be sailed back to back. In a challenging and tough fleet there was some great fun to be had. It has to be noted that Scarlett Shepherd with Harvey Martin and Robert Richardson with Sandy Simpson had impeccable starts, consistently being ahead of the fleet up the first beat. A lot of change in position happened around the wind shadow at the windward mark where the shore had a noticeable impact on the race. 

Races 1 and 2 followed a similar pattern with good starts by Scarlett and Robert leading the first lap but Reg and Douglas fighting through the fleet to snatch the win. In race 1 the finish between first and second came down to the line where Reg only just claimed it by about a foot ahead of Robert. Neither boat knew who had managed it until they asked the committee boat! More drama followed in the second race for the northern boats as Thomas Hayley decided to take a swim mid-beat which was funny to laugh about in the bar that evening but I doubt helm, Megan Thornley, would have found it funny at the time!


Race 3 consisted of Robert showcasing how you do it as he stormed ahead from the beginning leading the race all the way round to the finish in style, absolutely untouchable. 

Reg recovered up to second from what Dave describe as ‘the worst start he’d ever seen her do’ managing to claim second but couldn’t touch Robert who had claimed a considerable lead. 


In the debrief, the main points of the day were the shifts particularly around the windward mark and the tactical decisions on the reaches, banana leg being the option taking by the majority rather than the shortest distance to the mark. Big thanks to all the coaches at the event who were great. The North Squad (+Reg) showed their appreciation to Dave by bowing to him as he left the clubhouse on Saturday evening.


Photos by Helen Grayson

Day 2 brought slightly more wind throughout the day, an encouraging prospect for some of the heavier crews. The race area moved further down the lake to accommodate for the club racers so the windward mark was slightly less shifty but that didn't stop the wind from being shifty throughout the course. At this point there was only one point between the leaders and neither was going to give the championship away easily.


A shift on the line of race 1 from a port biased line to a slight starboard bias put Scarlett in the perfect position and she impressively led from start to finish. In this race Alexander Baird with Emma Rumgay had an excellent start, 4th round the windward mark but an unfortunate penalty dropped them back but they maintained their best finish of the event. 


Before race 2, catastrophe struck for the James and Matt Waddington as their mast fell down adding some drama and disappointment for them but they were patched up and returned for the last race with the help of Linda Keers. They had previously had breakages with their spinnaker system causing them to have trouble throughout the weekend and unfortunately it wasn't the end of their problems with boat maintenance. The race was extremely shifty with lots of position changes, causing the leaders to drop back in the fleet having to count their discards leaving Reg two points ahead into the final race. Eleanor Keers won this race after playing the shifts up the second beat well and coming out ahead for the final run. 


It was all to play for in race 3 between the top bunch. The start had a heavily port biased line and Reg and Douglas won the port end getting their only decent start of the weekend but it was a battle to the finish with Robert and Sandy and some very tense, exciting racing. Reg led to the finish and won the regatta much to the disappointment of Sandy who will have weeks of being annoyed by his younger brother Douglas for beating him! 


Overall a great weekend, excellent conditions throughout the weekend, great competition and a really good standard across the fleet creating some tough exhilarating racing. The youngest combined helm and crew prize went to Toby and Esmé from Beaver Sailing Club who are aged 9 and 10, it’s their first year sailing a Mirror and they impressively started all races. The Endeavour prize for completing all races went to Abi Thornley and Isabel Abbatt, a new pairing for the event and Abi’s first time helming a Mirror. The first NYDS North pairing was Megan and Thomas closely beating friends and rivals Faye and Ben on countback. The first NYDS South boat was Archie and Will Grant. Well done to all the competitors, thanks to everyone who helped to make the event possible and the coaches for the training also NeilPryde for sponsoring the event and providing some excellent prizes.


Three trophy winning helms & their crews plus a photo-bombing monster

Final Results (6 races sailed, 5 to count)

Pos Helm Crew Boat Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Race 6 Total Net
1 Rachel Grayson Douglas Simpson 70756 - Little Britches 1 1 2 3 (7) 1 15 8
2 Robert Richardson Sandy Simpson 70806 - Mischief 2 4 1 2 (6) 2 17 11
3 Eleanor Keers Izzy Pugh 70713 - Peanut 7 2 5 (12) 1 5 32 20
4 Scarlett Shepherd Harvey Martin 70716 - The Bootle Bumtrinket 4 5 (20) 1 5 6 41 21
5 Bertie Fisher Charlotte Fisher 70791 - Lady Dashalot 3 11 3 4 3 (20) 44 24
6 Sally Lorimer Pippa Jones 70560 - Phoenix 6 (8) 8 5 8 4 39 31
7 Harriet Watkins Helena Watkins 70697 (sailing as 70582) - Forget Me Knot 8 9 (11) 6 4 10 48 37
8 Archie Grant Will Grant 70738 5 (14) 10 8 2 14 53 39
9 George Richards Fraser Hemmings 70618 - Tinytanic 13 3 8 (15) 12 3 54 39
10 Ollie Hawkins Archie Hawkins 70810 - YOLO (10) 10 8 7 10 7 52 42
11 Imogen Bellfield Sarah Ewart Smith 70505 - Scarlet Monkey 12 6 (13) 11 9 9 60 47
12 Emily Heath Philippa Heath 70504 - Swift (15) 7 4 10 15 13 64 49
13 Felix Jefferies Monty Heath 70725 - Greyhound 9 13 6 (20) 14 8 70 50
14 Megan Thornley Thomas Hayley 70757 - Maverick 11 15 12 (16) 13 11 78 62
15 Faye Caswell Ben Clifford 70567 - Deal With It (14) 12 14 13 11 12 76 62
16 Alex Baird Emma Rumgay 70748 (16) 16 15 9 16 15 87 71
17 Matthew Waddington James Waddington 70648 - MCA Demo Boat 17 17 16 14 (20) 16 100 80
18 Abi Thornley Isabel Abbatt 39970 - Desparate Measures (18) 18 18 17 17 17 105 87
19 Toby Timmans Esmé Timmans 70456 - Fat Buoy 19 19 17 (20) 18 18 111 91


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Thanks to Jan Grieg-Gran, Rob Grieg-Gran and Scotty Cochrane for their work on a previous website.