Stokes Bay hero Chris Rashley pays tribute to team

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Chris Rashley is celebrating glory in the International Moth UK National Championships – held at Stokes Bay Sailing Club last weekend.

The 26-year-old overcame a strong fleet to win in convincing fashion on home waters.

He triumphed in 11 of the 12 races in the championship.

There was further local success throughout the fleet.

Former Olympian Jason Belben, also of the Stokes Bay club, finished in third.

An enthralling battle with Lymington Town Sailing Club’s Ben Paton saw the pair finish equal on points in the final reckoning.

They were separated only by Paton’s superior number of podium finishes.

Elsewhere, Mike Lennon from Hayling Island took fifth place.

And Stokes Bay’s James McMillan, Dan Henderson, Dan Ward and Jonathan Heathcote all secured impressive top-10 finishes in the competitive fleet of 59 boats.

Rashley’s victory underlined his dominance in moth racing over the past few years.

It was his second national title and added to a string of European victories and a fourth place at the World Championships earlier this year.

But the newly-crowned champion believes his success is largely thanks to the work of his support team in ensuring he can compete with the world’s best.

‘It might look like I won comfortably, but that’s because I prepared really well,’ said Rashley.

‘The work we put in off the water is as important as what happens on it.

‘I have to thank my team for all their help in getting me out there in the best possible condition to win.

‘Mike Lennon, Kevin Ellway, John Beech, Alex Thomson and Simon Maguire have all helped hugely in helping me get here.

‘It was nice racing on the Solent and I had managed to get a good number of practice sessions in down here before competing.

‘It was also great to see the other guys from Stokes Bay perform so well.

‘We have a strong fleet down here and they showed that over the weekend.’

Having proven so dominant in British and European moth racing over the past few years, Rashley is now focused on securing the world title that has eluded him to date.

As he begins his campaign for the 2016 World Championship, Rashley has launched

And he will start his journey with the defence of his European Championship crown in Holland next month – having claimed victory for the past four years.

Rashley will also be taking to the water in his moth as part of the America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth between Thursday, July 23 and Sunday, July 26.

He is one of six sailors who has been picked to compete in the invitational regatta – to be held each day before the main racing starts.

He said: ‘I hope I can claim a fifth (European) title.

‘It’s just about improving all the time and keeping as consistent as possible throughout all the competitions I do.

‘It will be great to be on the same water as the America’s Cup boats.

‘Moth racing is different but it’s still exhilarating and great fun to watch.’