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Young sailors triumphant

The Manx Youth Sailing Squad brought home the Team Champions Trophy for the Isle of Man at the RS Tera National Championship at the weekend at Dabchicks Sailing Club inEssex.

The prize was awarded to the team who scored the best three overall results in the Championship.

The Manx Youth Sailing Squad beat last year’s winners at their own home club!

The squad consists of the Island’s top six sailors aged 14 and under, selected during trials at the beginning of this sailing season.

The team trained throughout the summer at 7th Wave in Port Erin with coaches Phil Hardisty, Don Edwards, Rob Cowell and Jenni Quillin.

34 boats from around the British Isles entered the Championship which consisted of six very close races over two days.

Saturday’s racing was held in light winds and very strong tides in the estuary.

Tides would prove to be a decisive factor in the championship and the squad were assisted in their strategies by the coaches who travelled with them.

Twelve-year-old James Kelly and Izzy Sharpe, 13, really showed what the Manx could do, finishing second and third respectively in race one.

The Manx Youth Sailing Squad scored four top ten results in race two, with Greg Kelly (11) finishing sixth, James Kelly seventh, Hannah Howitt (14) eighth and Izzy Sharpe 10th.

The best Manx result in race three came from Hannah Howitt in 14th place, but unfortunately James, Greg and Ffinlo Wright were caught out by the tide and were pushed over the start line, causing their disqualification from the race.

Competitors would be able to discard their worst score once four races had been completed, which for James, Greg and Ffinlo would be this result, however they could make no mistakes in Sunday’s races.

Racing started at 10am on Sunday morning with the wind now up to a steady force 3, which was forecast to increase throughout the day.

Greg finished race four in seventh, Hannah 12th and James 14th.

The Manx Youth Sailing Squad members had a impressive start to Race five with four of them being in the first five across the line.

Coach Phil Hardisty descibed it as, "a brilliant start by Izzy, James, Greg and Hannah."

Greg took full advantage of this good start and defended his position around the course to finish in third place.

Twelve-year-old Amie Shute, who had struggled with the light airs and strong tide on Saturday, found her form in this race, getting into the top ten and finishing in a credible ninth place.

The Kelly brothers again made their mark in the final race of the series with James finishing in third place and Greg fifth, while the breeze seemed to suit Amie, who put in another consistent race and again finished ninth.

Ffinlo Wright, just nine years old, is the squad’s youngest and newest member and was competing in a large fleet for the first time.

He had scored consistent results toward to lower end of the fleet during the series but in this last race all he had learned over the weekend came together and he scored an admirable 17th place, taking him from the bottom to the middle of the fleet.

The combined scores of James, Greg and Izzy ensured that the Manx Youth Sailing Squad took home the trophy for the RS Tera National Team Championships.

In the individual competition James Kelly finished seventh overall, Greg eighth, Izzy 12th, Hannah 16th, Amie 19th and Ffinlo 30th.

Manx Youth Sailing Squad Coach Donald Edwards was delighted with the squad’s performance: "This is only the second time the squad has competed off-Island, and to bring home a trophy is a fantastic result for the whole team.

"They have all done themselves proud and we hope this will be the start of further success for each of these young sailors."

Throughout the weekend the RS Tera GBR coaches had been on the water assessing all the competitors in order to select the 2010 GBR RS Tera Squad.

The coaches were very impressed with the overall performance and high sailing standard of the Manx Youth Squad Members and at the end of the weekend Izzy Sharpe, James Kelly and Greg Kelly were invited to join the GBR RS Tera Squad.

Izzy, James and Greg will attend four training weekends in the UK during the winter and will hopefully progress to represent Great Britain at the RS Tera World Championships in the future.

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