A HOST of young Pugneys Pirates stars had the wind in their sails at the RYA North Zone Championships at the weekend.
The best individual junior sailors and windsurfers the north has to offer gathered at Rutland Water Sailing Club in Leicestershire for the high-ranked event.
A good performance at the competition was crucial for juniors with ambitions to move up the training ladder.
Selection for the RYA Zone Squads and RYA National Junior Squad depends largely on good results at the Zone Championships, along with a few other selected events.
Pugneys were well represented and kicked-on from their RYA Team15 regional victory with more individual success.
Matthew Carey, 14, won all of his races in style to win the 6.8m fleet category outright and younger brother Joshua, 12, made it a family affair by finishing second in the same category thanks to three impressive wins from four of his races.
Fiona Anderson also shone as Pugneys dominated the 6.8m fleet class.
Joseph Thompson impressed in the 7.8m fleet although he couldn’t topple the top-two, made up of North Lincolnshire and Humberside sailors Ruben Lansley, who won the category, and Robert Griffiths, who finished second overall.
Competitors were buoyed by the attendance of Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas and Olympic silver medallist Nick Dempsey, who were on hand to give out some tips and inspiration.
And RYA Single Handed Pathway Manager Kirsty Bonar deemed the weekend a big success.
“It’s been an incredibly impressive weekend watching the record number of 319 sailors race in the fantastic conditions, yet challenging conditions, which they’ve had over the two days,” she said.
“The standard has been very high on the whole and there have been some great battles at the top of the leader board.
“There are also many sailors here racing their first event and it’s been great to see them working with the coaches and gaining experience on the regatta course.
“Having Team Volvo sailors Helena Lucas and Nick Dempsey here over the weekend has been very inspiring for the kids – getting to chat with the Olympians, see the Olympic medals and also gain some top tips, including what Nick eats for breakfast at a weekend!”
Pugneys will turn their attention to the national final of the Team15 event in Northampton on October 13-14.
See this week’s Wakefield Express for all the latest sports news from around the district.