Duo turn silver into gold at third time of asking

Portsmouth 49er sailor John Pink
Portsmouth 49er sailor John Pink
Leigh McMillan announced as Helmsman onboard Land Rover BAR Academy. Picture: Alex Palmer

Leading sailor back at Land Rover BAR

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It was a case of finally turning silver into gold at the annual Dubarry Women’s Open Keelboat Championship in Hamble last weekend.

Victory in the all-women event – which is now in its fifth year – went to Elaine, skippered by Sabrina Gravelle and Heather Ross.

The Elan 37 won all of its races in the IRC class and the overall championship, which is sponsored by the Irish footwear company and supports the charity Breast Cancer Care.

Gravelle said: ‘We’ve been runners up for the previous two years, so it was great to finally win the big trophy – third time lucky.

‘This event is not just great racing but is also for a great cause. My thanks go to the girls on our team and especially to Mike Bridges for letting us use Elaine.’

The runner-up spot this year was taken by Lavinia Paternoster’s team on Juicy, who won five of the six races in the J80 class. In third place was Annie Kelly and her crew on the J92S Blackjack.

Six races were held in the northern area of the Solent in perfect conditions of south-westerly winds ranging from 6-17 knots.

There were six boats in IRC ranging from Minka Armitage’s Grand Soleil 34.3 Gazelle to Elaine Roberts’ Beneteau First 40.7 Coyote.

The J80 class was hotly-contested with the likes of Charlotte Lawrence, Jane Saunders and Hannah Diamond at the helm.

Meanwhile, Portsmouth 49er ace John Pink will be among the sailing stars on hand at the 2012 49er National Championships being held on Southampton Water next month.

The next generation of British Olympians will be racing from the Weston Sailing Club in the four-day regatta, which is sponsored by the Warsash Superyacht Academy.

More than 40 of the Olympic two-handed high-performance skiffs are expected to take part in 15 races during the regatta, which runs from October 4 to 7.

These will be the first national championships to feature the 49er FX, a modified version of the 49er which will be sailed by all-female teams for the first time at the 2016 Rio Olympics.