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Youth Race Week 2023 Winners Review

On the week commencing 7th of August, Hayling Island Sailing club hosted the annual Youth Race Week which is a fun racing week for all U21s. Monday’s racing kicked off to a start with over 140 entries from boats across 11 fleets. Firstly, all competitors were welcomed with a competitors briefing before an early launch. Both bronze and blue fleet enjoyed some tight racing in the harbour while the larger boats in purple fleet battled it out in the bay. It was a tricky day with shifty conditions and not much wind but each fleet finished all three races – a great start to the week.

The next day however was very different. With gusts reaching almost 25 knots, Bronze fleet race committee opted to not subject the competitors to the harsh conditions and they instead had a brilliant day out at Flip Out, a trampoline park in Portsmouth. All remaining fleets proceeded to race – purple fleet in the harbour now – and completed one race before returning to shore with sailors tired but smiles wide. In the evening, purple fleet race committee offered some of the RS Feva sailors – Youth Race Week’s largest fleet - the opportunity to switch to Blue fleet if they had less success in the day’s conditions. 

The following day was forecast to be light winds but we sailors were pleasantly surprised as the sea breeze filled in for some champagne sailing. Purple Fleet Race Officer, Fraser Elms, planned to complete four races for Fevas, 29ers, ILCAs and RS 800s out in the bay in order to catch up with the missed races from Tuesday. Although the day was slightly longer, it was a blast on the water for all competitors.

Thursday brought similar winds to that of the day before where all fleets promptly launched for some close racing. In the bay, the tidal conditions meant racing was more tactical with more features to consider but the day finished in good time to allow sailors enough time to prep for Youth Race Week Summer Ball. After the annual photo outside the club house of everyone dressed appropriately for the theme ‘Black and White’, competitors enjoyed a delicious meal and dessert before the disco and music.  The late night was no obstacle for the sailors as Friday brought a very early start with, once again, more perfect conditions to end the week’s racing. The final three races were a tense battle for finishing positions, some even being a decider for number one spot. Prize giving was a great final celebration of the week’s successes including some notable results of straight bullets from Max and Alex Sydenham in the RS 200. Winners of the other fleets include Oliver Thompson and Olly Peters (29ers), Jemima Day and Will Sawtell (Fevas), Oscar Bartlett (ILCAs), Felix Dobrijevic (Optimist – blue fleet), Cameron Wilson (Tera Sport), Beaulah Wilson (Tera Pro), Madeleine White (Optimist – bronze fleet) and Henry Highman from the Tera Sport bronze fleet. To conclude the week, we were both delighted and surprised to be awarded the prize of overall winners of youth race week.

Finally, a massive thank you to HISC for organising an exciting week of sailing which wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible safety team, volunteers and race committee. We can’t wait for next year!

- Jemima Day and Will Sawtell