Project Description

Victory for young Parkstone sailor at SW Zone Champs

29th September 2015

Millie Aldridge, aged fourteen, beat off 48 other young competitors to win her class in the RYA South and Southwest Zone Championships, held at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy at the weekend (26 and 27 September 15).

Millie, who is a member of the Parkstone Yacht Club, and lives in Poole, was competing amongst some 245 sailors at the event, which was one of several regional Zone Championships held throughout the UK.  She was sailing in the Topper class, taking an impressive two firsts, a second and two thirds, amongst the seven races.  Parkstone SC showed its dominance of the Topper fleet, with a total of five places in the top ten.

Millie said of her win: “I am really excited about winning such a big class event and it will give me confidence for the coming year. I have just been selected for the Topper National Squad and look forward to continued progression and racing at the National and World Championships in 2016.”

On Saturday the Topper and Optimist regatta fleet had a morning and afternoon session at WPNSA which included coaching and briefings from Kat Colvin. Sunday’s racing, meanwhile was interrupted by a large ship early on with race management shifting the courses around it. It was a windier day than Saturday, which had enjoyed 8-10 knots, with sailors launching in 15 knots but they worked well in the challenging conditions.  High Performance Manager Chris Atherton explained: “We were expecting some retirees from the Sunday races, however the sailors coped really well and we were impressed by the high standard of sailing.”  He added “The race management did an excellent job, the racing was very slick and we finished in good time.”

Chris Taylor and Sam Batten, 49er British Sailing Team Podium Potential sailors took part in a Questions and Answer session prior to the prize-giving. Batten talked through his pathway and how much he enjoyed Zone Squads.

Over 1,025 young sailors took to the water up and down the United Kingdom over the weekend, in the hunt for glory at the RYA Zone and Home Country Championships which gave all the youngsters the chance to experience big regatta racing without having to travel far from their home sailing clubs. For some, the sailors will have improved their racing skills and overall ability after venturing out onto the competitive circuit for the first time.

The Championships traditionally mark the end of the Junior racing season and are a key event for any young sailor wishing to be selected for the RYA Zone and Home Country squads, which are the first step on the pathway to Olympic Classes sailing.

The RYA thanked all the volunteers for their help over the weekend at the various locations. These kind of events would not be possible without the parents and helpers handing their support.