Young catamaran sailor's success at Eurocat 03

Four years on and the UK youth and junior cat squads made their mark again at the Carnac Eurocat Event. 6 x Hobie dragoons and 3 x Hobie 16 teams made the trip down (despite exams) to what is considered by many one if not the event of the year. For all but two team it was their first major international regatta and the first opportunity to experience big fleet starting at an international event. Supported by the RYA youth program with a National Coach, Brian Phipps, the teams arrived to be meet by a force 5/6 breeze cross shore for the pre-event training. With the build up for the event taking place all around them the squad launched for some excellent squad training that gave them the measure of the location and experience in the sort of conditions that were predicted for the weekend ahead.

With low pressure sweeping in from the Atlantic it was all set for a scary ride but things did not develop, the lows got pushed up towards the UK leaving sunny skies and a mixture of wind that ranged from mainly light to moderate for round the cans racing to perfect force 4 for the long distance raid and one day lost due to too much.

On the Hobie 16 front the UK youth teams took time to get the measure of the big fleet cat starts, (something in the UK we struggle to get regular experience in) but having got the measure started to deliver some excellent results over the reduced four race series to finish 6th (20pts) 10th (22pts), 20th (50pts). The long distance race out to Houat and back via a number of race gates was a first for all the sailors, 35 miles round trip. The first Uk Hobie 16 back was Simon Kearns / Ben Burns 162nd out of 300 + boats, "quite an experience, said Simon and not one I would want to do again until next year!" The events sets the teams up for the Hobie European Youth Challenge, a series of 6 x European events for youth and junior hobie cat sailors with some excellent prizes for the winners.

For all but two of the 6 x teams of dragoons this was their first experience at an international regatta. Awestruck by the number of boats and famous names to rub shoulders with the teams were out there to show just how good our junior cat sailors are. With almost 30 boats in their class and a strong contingent of French junior squad sailors the teams sailed well to finish with 4 boats in the top 6, the winning boat of Sam Newton / Nick Taylor taking top place by just one point from last years winners Tom Phipps / Jon Cook. The Junior Hobie Cat trophies sponsored by Hobie Cat Europe went to the first three dragoons in class with trophies handed out by some of the worlds best cat sailors, Darren Bundock (Tornado world champion), Mitch Booth (F18 world champion) Gavin Colby (H16 world champion).

The Carnac event is probably the most important event for the UK catamaran youth squad teams in that it is the first chance they have to measure up against international competition after the winter training. The H16 teams are confident their boat speed is at least as good as anyone else, but they recognise the fact that big fleet cat starting is critical and the more experience they can get in this area the better. For the dragoons a number of the teams will shortly be moving into the Hobie 16 leaving room for others to take pole position and while a new group of charter teams will be invited to join the training after the cat introductory days in June.

Highlight of the event outside of the racing? :- Getting blasted into orbit on the catamaran sailing simulator, that was in operation in the display area each day, were the public could experience first hand double trapezing on a F18 cat with all sails set on a 20' swimming pool in their Sunday best.!!!!

Results Series C3

1st Sam Newton - Nick Talker (Hobie Dragoon) 7pts
2nd Tom Phipps - Jon Cook (Hobie Dragoon) 8pts
3rd Gaston Augier - Nicolas Augier (France) 9pts

Other UK places
4th Hannah Rowles - Stephanie Wall 13pts
6th Richard Glover - Andy Glover 16.5pts
11th Will Goodison - Will Thomson 28pts
16th Luke Butler - Katy England 41pts

Results - Series Hobie Cat 16

1st Jérome Le Gal - Vaik Delevaux (New Caledonia) 4pts
2nd Moana Vaireaux - Pauline Jupin-Champavert (France) 11pts
3rd Loic Fequet - Béatrice Adam-Proust (France) 13pts

UK youth H16
6th Simon Kearns/ Ben Burns. 20pts
10th Ben Hinks - Ben Mansfield 22pts
20th Ben Newton - Nick Green 55pts