What an amazing event! 68 entrants from 8 different local schools and over 15 races completed. The Dorset School Games goes from strength to strength, building in numbers each year whilst the sailing standard continues to rocket.
There really is something quite special … humbling even, to see how well young-adults get on with each other and enter into the spirit of such an event. More than this, it’s exciting to see the talent that is quickly emerging from the area, proving once again that if you make the sport of windsurfing accessible, it will be embraced wholeheartedly by those that are given regular opportunities to participate.
The day started with registration, followed by a rigging and wetsuit-donning frenzy, before the group was split into two fleets – the Gold fleet for those that are capable of sailing a course race … and the Challenge fleet for the less experienced. Once the morning’s warm-up session had been rushed through and an early lunch devoured, it was straight into the ‘meat’ of the day, the Challenge fleet racing from the slipway in front of the OTC centre whilst the Gold fleet raced from the sandbar downwind. The 20 in the Gold fleet completed a total of five races around the course put out by the ‘West Dorset’ instructor crew, whereas the ‘East Dorset’ crew battled to keep the 48 contenders in the Challenge fleet in their area, as a few puffed out their chests and tried to escape to join the other fleet! The results from the races were as follows:
(1) Rachel Horton – Poole High
(2) Lily Young – All Saints School, Weymouth
(3) Emma Stevenson – Wey Valley School, Weymouth
(1) Morgan Griffiths – Poole Grammar
(2) Emma Bishop – All Saints, Weymouth
(3) Jess Butler – Thomas Hardyes, Dorchester
The top three results from each school then counted towards the overall school prize … and two-time Champions Wey Valley were pipped at the post this year by Poole Grammar, with Poole High coming in a very commendable third. A thoroughly deserved victory and great to see the competition for the crown so hotly contested. Another point very worth of note is how well the girls are doing at the moment, with all bar one podium position taken by the fairer sex. Top result which didn’t go unnoticed by the medal ceremony guest – Olympian Bryony Shaw.
With Poole Grammar taking the title east, the event will be hosted in Poole Harbour for the first time next year.
We’d like to thank everyone for their amazing effort, helping to make the day such a success. Thanks to the SSCos for spreading word of the event through the schools; to the teachers in the various local schools for their amazing effort (too many to list here but you know who you are…) to organise logistics and training. To Active Dorset and the RYA (especially Sam Ross and Tony Wood) for helping plan, co-ordinate and promote the event. But most of all to the students for their sterling effort on the water and fully getting behind the event. Let’s push it further for 2015 … will we break the ‘100 participants’ barrier…!?