The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Sailing Academy youngsters were joined by their friends from Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club in Granaway Deep and a fleet of 27 sailors competed in the JLT Winter Series 2 race day.
Winds were light and variable, which made it difficult for Race Officer Jay Hooper to set a consistent course, but his experience shone through and he managed to complete 4 races.
The Bermuda Team Sailors for the South American Championships filled 4 of the top 5 places in the first race, with Chase Cooper ahead of Ceci Wollmann and Rory Caslin. However it was new Gold Fleet sailor Kieran Swann who put in a great performance to finish the race in 4th place. Tre Maxwell led the Silver Fleet home to win his first race in the Intermediate Division, followed by Series leader Alice Reeves and 8 year old Flo Nicholls.
11 year old Campbell Patton lead the fleet home in Race 2 closely followed by 10 year old Yannick Hillier, both sailors keeping ahead of Bermuda National Champion, 14 year old Caslin. A very excited Flo Nicholls led home the Silver Fleet, she also led home six of the Gold Fleet sailors. PRO Jay Hooper said he saw a "proper smile as young Nicholls crossed the finish line, it was encouraging to see the youngest sailor finishing the race in 8th place out of 27 competitors." George Buckley and Alice Reeves completed the top 3.
Hooper split up the Fleets for race 3 and the Gold Fleet started first. Chase Cooper, Rory Caslin and Matilda Nicholls were comfortably ahead at the first mark and by the 2nd leeward turning mark, they had closed up on each other. Nicholls was going fast in the light airs and Caslin had to work hard upwind to cover her every move. This enabled Cooper to keep control of his lead to the finish with Caslin and Nicholls finishing within a second of each other. Kieran Swann posted another excellent result to finish 4th. Meanwhile the Silver Fleet was being led by George Bukley who took control of the FLeet with style, Thomas Penruddocke and Tre maxwell completed the top 3.
Maxwell's big moment was still to come, with the two Fleets back racing together for Race 4, Maxwell surprised all by finishing the race in 6th place and another 1st place in the Silver Fleet rankings. Not far behind was youngster Felix Cutler in 9th place, both sailors beating several of the advanced Gold Fleet sailors in the testing conditions. The final race was won by Rory Caslin, Mikey Wollmann was 2nd and Peter Dill 3rd. It was a tough day for the bigger sailors, but Antonio Bailey showed how it can still be done even if you are heavier than everyone else, he finished 4th in the final race.
The World Championship and European Championship Team Trials start in April and competition looks like being extremely tight. On current form, Rory Caslin looks like being the sailor to beat, but there are many sailors vying for the Top 5 World's Team places and the 4 places for the European's Team places.
Cooper leads the Gold Fleet in Series 2, just 1 point ahead of Ceci Wollmann and 4 ahead of Mikey Wollmann. The Silver Fleet is led by Alice Reeves, Adriana Penruddocke and George Buckley. The Combined Races for the races when both Gold and Silver Fleets race together is scored throughout Series 1 and 2. This is currently lead by Campbell Patton on 20 points, 9 points clear of Benn Smith. Yannick Hiller is in 3rd place.