SAILING: Weymouth sailor Emmett becomes a six-time champion

SAILING: Weymouth sailor Emmett becomes a six-time champion

By Laura Kitching

SIX-TIME WINNER: Laser Radial dinghy sailor Jon Emmett has scooped the UK championship once again

WEYMOUTH Laser Radial dinghy sailor Jon Emmett has scooped the UK Nationals title for the sixth time.

The 35-year-old went into the final race of the UK National and Open Laser Championships at Paignton Sailing Club on equal points with his nearest rival John Booth.

But Emmett successfully match-raced Booth to win the race and claim overall victory.

Emmett, of Westham, said: “I must say it was somewhat of a relief to win the UK Nationals this year having put my own sailing pretty much on hold for the last couple of years.

“It was actually the sixth time I have won the title, the last time being in Weymouth in 2011 – I was unable to defend my title in 2012 due to coaching Olympic sailor Lijia Xu.

“It was a tight series and I felt I sailed well but I still have many points I wish to improve. In the end I had to match race out second-placed John Booth in the final race to be sure I got the title.

“No hard feelings though, I believe he is coming down to Weymouth at the weekend to train with me in preparation for the World Championships.”

He added: “It really is no rest for the wicked as the qualifiers for next year’s World Champion-ships are being held at Weymouth and Portland Natio-nal Sailing Academy (WPNSA) in September.”

Osmington’s Emma Stevenson also competed in the Laser Radial fleet of 127 boats, which included not just Emmett but also sailors from Australia, New Zealand, St Lucia and Ireland.

The 16-year-old said the week of shifty conditions ranged from very high winds with gusts up to 30 knots to a day of racing being cancelled through lack of wind.

The teenager, who is sponsored by the Virtual Rigger Race Team, was pleased to achieve a 17th place and several positions in the 20s.

Meanwhile, Gustavo Lima of Portugal won the Laser Standard event and Romas Ovcinnikov of Lithuania claimed victory in the 4.7 fleet – claiming the Open titles. Local sailor Alex Jones from Castle Cove Sailing Club finished 10th in the 4.7 fleet.

Stevenson said: “Overall it was a good week’s sailing and improving my position within the fleet was the target, which I achieved, so that was fabulous.”

While Stevenson was competing in Devon, her 13-year-old sister Alexandra was taking part in her first national competition for Topper dinghies held at Portland.

She said: “I really enjoyed the event, made lots of new friends and learnt alot about sailing and competing.”

In the future Alexandra hopes to follow her sister into the Laser class.

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