UK windsurfers head for Championship showdown

More than 150 windsurfers from all over Britain descend on Weymouth and Portland this weekend, 13-14 September, for the inaugural RYA/UKWA National Windsurfing Championships.

The cream of UK windsurfing talent will do battle across nine classes over the course of the two-day event at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) as for the first time the RYA joins forces with UKWA to run a combined National Championship event.

Among the ones to watch are Launceston’s promising teenager Sam Sills, who goes in the Bic Techno 7.8 class having won 7.8 silver at both the class European and World Championships this year. Meanwhile, also going in the same class is Jack Plummer, fresh from also claiming a World silver in Poland last month on the 6.8 Bic Techno board.

Sam’s twin sisters Imogen and Saskia won Bic Techno 4.5 and 5.5 gold respectively at last year’s RYA Youth and Masters Championships, the new event’s predecessor, but this year the girls go head-to-head in the 6.8 class. Fighting it out for the honours among the boys are likely to be European and World 6.8 bronze medallist Kieran Martin and Adam Purcell, the 2007 5.5 Youth and Masters champion.

It is poised to be a fascinating encounter in the boy’s RS:X 8.5 competition as Jacob Brubert, the 2008 RYA Youth National boys’ champion and RYA Team GBR’s RS:X boys’ representative at this summer’s Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships, and class World Youth silver medallist Ali Masters do battle for the class National title at WPNSA.

Meanwhile Izzy Hamilton, the RYA Youth National girls’ champion who also competed in the girls’ RS:X class at the ISAF Youth Worlds, heads the cast in the girl’s 8.5 field. Hamilton, 16, won the Bic Techno 7.8 Youth and Masters title last year and added a World silver to her medal collection last month when stepping back on to the smaller sailboard for Techno Worlds.

The Robert Cartwright Memorial Trophy, awarded to an athlete demonstrating outstanding attitude and progress, will be also be presented. Last year’s trophy winner, Lindsay Smith, competes in the RS:X 8.5 event.

A maximum of seven races are scheduled to be contested, with four races set for Saturday and three for Sunday. Racing is scheduled to start at 11.25am on Saturday and 9.55am on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the RYA continues to seek young windsurfing talent, with the potential and the desire to achieve Olympic success in the future, to receive training through the Skandia Team GBR Development Programme.

The RYA will be using results from the 2008 Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta (15-20 September) and the RYA National Ranker events (4-5 and 18-19 October) as indicators for selection. The Olympic Steering Group (OSG) will select individuals, eligible to compete for Great Britain, using results and other factors it deems appropriate and review selection or de-selection on a periodic basis.

Please email barrie.edgington@rya.org.uk to register your interest in being considered for the Skandia Team GBR Development Squad.

Full class list for 2008 RYA/UKWA National Windsurfing Championships:

· Formula
· Formula National
· Raceboard Senior
· Raceboard Youth
· Raceboard Unlimited
· RS:X 8.5
· RS:X 9.5
· Bic Techno 6.8
· Bic Techno 7.8