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Plain sailing for Norfolk youngsters

The Norfolk team pose on the stony beach at Downs Sailing Club in Kent. Photo: Paul Bonham.

Friday, August 1, 2014

9:10 AM

Norfolk took their largest ever team of 25 young people to the 52nd annual National Youth Regatta at Downs Sailing Club at Deal, in Kent.

All were aged between 12 and 18.

A range of both single handed and double handed boats made their way down to the south coast with the team and included five Toppers, four Fevas, four Laser Radials, a Firefly, a RS 500, an Enterprise and a Laser 2000.

All competitors did well in their own events but the stand-out performer was from 13-year-old Aaron Matthews who, in his debut regatta, won the Intermediate Topper Fleet and the Norfolk Trophy for the best Norfolk sailor.

Christopher Haslam, 13, also excelled in the Intermediate Topper Fleet, coming in a very close third, only a single point separating him from second place.

Another shining performance came from Laser Radial sailor Toby Percival who claimed a very respectable fifth place in an extremely competitive fleet of over 70 boats. He also made it into the prestigious final for the double handed Mount Haes Trophy along with crew Thomas Thirkettle.

The pair were the first Norfolk duo make it to the final since 2009 after displaying a great deal of skill in the previous heats. They came fifth in a final that was dominated by the home county, Kent.

Off the water, other sporting events were held for the competitors including rounders, tug-of-war, an assault course, mountain biking and six-aside football that was won by Norfolk on penalties against Kent.

The event was excellently organised by Downs Sailing Club and the National Schools Sailing Association who deserve a great deal of praise for their work along with Norfolk’s team manager Tim Percival who worked extremely hard in organising the logistics and paper work that allowed the team to compete.

Next year’s event is due to take place at Rutland Water with Norfolk hoping to take even more young participants.

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    By Rory McKeown, Senior reporter

    Boats set off during last year’s Cowes Week

    IT is one of the biggest and best-known sailing regattas in the world.

    All eyes will be on the Isle of Wight from tomorrow as the annual Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week spectacular gets under way.

    A jam-packed programme of exciting events is planned right across the week, which will see the world’s sailing industry descend onto the coastal town.

    And this year’s festival will mark the moment warfare began on the seas during the First World War.

    Cowes Week has become one of the UK’s longest running and most successful sporting events since it was launched in 1826. It now boasts between 800 and 1,000 boats in up to 40 different race classes across the eight days.

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    It features RIB rides, the Cowes Cardboard Boat Race, and interactive performances from CBeebies presenter Andy Day featuring Shadow, the mischievous Tyrannosaurus Rex from Blackgang Chine.

    There will also be a gravity-defying display from the Blades Aerobatic Display team at 7pm.

    A minute’s silence will be held on Tuesday as Cowes Week marks the beginning of the First World War 100 years ago.

    August 5 was the moment the first Naval gun was fired in anger during the conflict and HMS Mersey will perform a sail past for the occasion at 10am.

    There will be a touch of glamour across the town on Thursday as the festival marks ladies’ day. The day culminates in an evening reception where a trophy is awarded to recognise the outstanding contribution, commitment, or achievement of women in sailing.

    There are also a variety of sporting events to take part in thanks to event partners the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation.

    Then on Friday the main part of Cowes Week draws to a spectacular close.

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    Sailing director Stuart Quarrie

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