Dinghy Champs

Patrick Cope leads the fleet off the start line in race three of the Isle of Man Youth Dinghy Championship

Patrick Cope leads the fleet off the start line in race three of the Isle of Man Youth Dinghy Championship

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Eleven-year-old Ben Batchelor beat the island’s best young sailors, including the current RS Tera world champion Greg Kelly, to win the Isle of Man Youth Dinghy Championship.

Rolling seas and strong westerly winds blowing above 20 knots severely tested the competitors in the six-race series, hosted on Saturday and Sunday by the Isle of Man Yacht Club.

Of the 10 who started race one on Saturday, only five made it to the start line for race two as the conditions proved too much for the younger and less experienced sailors.

Current RS Tera world champion Greg Kelly and Tera Pro Northern champion Ffinlo Wright kept each other honest in their RS Tera Pro dinghies, with the pair rarely separated by more than a few metres.

But despite the conditions favouring the strength and weight of the older sailors, the pair were under constant threat on corrected time from the three smaller RS Tera Sports sailed by Batchelor, 14-year-old Erin Murphy and 12-year-old Patrick Cope.

Batchelor got the better of the Tera Pro sailors to win three of Saturday’s four races in a superb demonstration of heavy weather sailing and fitness, leaving Kelly and Wright fighting for the other podium spots.

The equally impressive Murphy won the other, beating Ben across the line by only two seconds in race two.

With even stronger winds on Sunday, Ben all but guaranteed himself the overall win by winning race five, while Kelly finally managed to beat the Sports to take the honours in the final race and secure second overall.

With four podium finishes and one race win, Murphy claimed a well-deserved third overall, pushing Wright into fourth.

Alongside Batchelor, Murphy, Kelly and Wright, Patrick Cope was the only other sailor to complete every race of the championship- a great achievement by itself given the conditions.

The top seven finishers are all part of the Manx Youth Sailing Squad, who will be representing Team GBR at the RS Tera World Championships next month at the British Olympic venue in Weymouth.

Overall results: 1, Ben Batchelor (RS Tera Sport); 2, Greg Kelly (RS Tera Pro); 3, Erin Murphy (RS Tera Sport); 4, Ffinlo Wright (RS Tera Pro); 5, Patrick Cope (RS Tera Sport); 6, Tony Pitt; 7, Mat Perry; 8, Rory Donegan (RS Tera Sport); 9, Michael Moore (Laser 4.7); 10, Alex Cope (RS Tera Sport)

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