Friday, July 29, 2016

Hayling Island SC Wins British J/70 Sailing League

J/70s sailing British Sailing League (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- Hayling Island Sailing Club team won the inaugural UK National Sailing League Final in association with Bainbridge & Seldén.  Sailed over the weekend of 16-17 July, HISC beat ten other teams to be crowned champions and secure a place at the SAILING Champions League Final in Porto Cervo, Sardinia (23-25 September).

The HISC team of Imogen Stanley, Paul Childs, Chris O’Neill and Chris Witty dominated the first day, winning four of their six races held in J/70s, showing great consistency given the shifty conditions in Osborne Bay on the Solent. On Sunday, HISC followed up with another race win and a handful of top three scores to win the event with a race to spare. Winning helm Stanley said: “Our strategy was just to sail fast and keep out of the way of the other boats, we managed to get some really good starts and just sail away. I had a great team with me from Hayling – Chris, Chris and Paul – which meant I could put our boat exactly where I wanted without worrying about the boat handling.”

J/70s sailing the British Sailing League off CowesThe UK National Sailing League is a new initiative launched in March and run in partnership between the RYA and Royal Thames Yacht Club, with the format of 15 minute umpired races in keelboats.  HISC’s mainsheet trimmer Paul Childs enjoyed the format: “It makes the racing really close and really tactical.  Any mistake you make you instantly get punished whereas sometimes in a fleet race if you make a few mistakes you can wind it back in, but in this you’ve got great sailors from around the country really chomping at the bit. We do a lot of sprint racing down at Hayling which I think helped us this weekend, we sail in the tide and are used to making those quick decisions.”

The second and third placed-boats both qualified for a spot to race in St Petersburg at Act 1 of the SAILING Champions League in August. Sunderland YC Team finished second overall securing the first spot, just one point ahead of Port Edgar YC team in third.

Port Edgar won the final race of the day to sneak ahead of Cardiff University who finished their weekend in fourth, and their helm Callum Calder said: “It was great to up amongst it, we were in the chocolates all the time. At points we were lightening quick and at points we were dog slow but that’s the great thing about the short-course racing as you can get back into it so I’m really happy with that.”

Jack Fenwick, RYA Keelboat Development Manager: “The UK National Sailing League has been a great success. We ran four qualifying events and the final in Cowes was very competitive. All the feedback from host clubs and sailors has been positive and we are looking forward to developing the league next year.”

A full schedule of 22 races was completed over the two-day event with eleven teams from around the country competing.  Follow them on their UK J/70 Sailing League page here.  For more UK J/70 Sailing League information