As the RYA Volvo Youth National Championships came to a close after four days of adrenaline-charged racing in Cardigan Bay, North Wales, Chichester Yacht Club’s Stephanie Orton and Vikki Payne clinched a championship crown in empathic style.
And Emsworth Sailing Club’s Jess Lavery and Georgie Mothersele finished the five-day regatta with a well-deserved silver.
The 2012 regatta, at Pwllheli Sailing Club, attracted a record-breaking 390 sailors from around the country, including international competitors from as far as Bermuda, Norway, Sweden and New Zealand, all vying for selection to the RYA Volvo national youth squads and the chance to be selected to represent RYA Team GBR at a range of international competitions, world and European championships in 2012.
Payne, 16, from Oaklands Catholic School, Waterlooville, and crew Orton, 16 from Bishop Luffa School, Chichester, were awarded the female 2012 championship title after finishing as top female boat in the 29er fleet and ninth overall, bettering their result of 14th overall last year.
Payne and Orton thrived in challenging conditions. The high-performance dinghy sailors had a great start, posting a race win on the opening day. With consistent results across the 13 races, the CYC stars proved themselves effective in all conditions which will be useful when competing at key regattas this summer.
Payne said: “This week has been great for us – finishing in the top ten, which was male dominated, is a fantastic achievement as the conditions were quite challenging at times, and with the boys being a lot stronger than us gives them a massive advantage.
“We have put a lot of hard work in over winter, training most weekends in the build-up to the event, so it’s a great feeling for all our training to eventually pay off,” said Payne.
Orton added: “ Our main aim coming into the regatta was to build on our consistency when competing at key events, which I think we have done. We entered the event wanting to finish in the top ten and to qualify for the Eurosaf Youth Sailing European Championship, Denmark, in August, which we have achieved so we are just over the moon and are really pleased with our racing.”
The double-handed 420 female class was a tight affair with Annabel Vose and Kirstie Urwin from Royal Lymington Yacht Club claiming victory over 2011 champions Lavery and Mothersele from Emsworth Sailing Club, who finished eight points behind – in fifth overall and second female boat.
Lavery and Mothersele, both 17, battled with the top female crew all week scoring some impressive results including a race win on the final day. However with a couple of inconsistent results, the pair were unable to catch Vose and Urwin, who go on to compete for RYA Volvo Team GBR at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, which Lavery and Mothersele competed at last year in Croatia.
Harry Derbyshire, also from Emsworth SC, finished sixth overall in the 420 class.
RYA racing manager and performance director John Derbyshire commented: “It’s been a fantastic event. You’ve got to take your hat off to the sailors.”