Rachel makes mark in prestigious sailing event

Rachel Grayson  and Nigel Wakefied  aboard the Topaz Argo in the national Endeavour Trophy sailing competition.
Rachel Grayson and Nigel Wakefied aboard the Topaz Argo in the national Endeavour Trophy sailing competition.
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Pontefract girl Rachel Grayson became the highest ever placed female in the Endeavour Trophy sailing competition.

The annual event brings together all the national sailing champions from the different fleets that compete in their own national competitions.

Rachel won this year’s mirror dinghy national championship at Brixham to qualify for the prestigious event.

Twenty champions competed, all sailing a new boat, the Topaz Argo.

Sixteen-year-old Rachel was the only female helm in the competition, sailing with Nigel Wakefield, an excellent sailor who had previously competed in the competition.

Between them they combined raw talent and experience of the sailing area at Burnham-on-Crouch, which is a tidal estuary.

The first day saw the competitors sail six races of the eight race series as the organisers were worried about the weather conditions forecasted for the Sunday.

By the end of the day Rachel and Nigel were in fourth position overall, having sailed very consistently.

From sunshine and a good breeze, the next day saw a large drop in temperature and gusts of 28 knots.

Rachel and Nigel knew that weight wise they were going to struggle to keep the boat flat and powered up and this proved to be the case.

The heavier crews performed better and Rachel and Nigel had to be content with two, very creditable, eighth positions, which dropped them to sixth overall.

The other sailors commented on Rachel’s extreme skill, professional composure and her consistent performance over the weekend.

It was a fantastic accolade from some of the finest sailors in the country.

Rachel, who heaped a great deal of praise on her crew Nigel, said: “I have a sweat-shirt that says ‘Blood, Sweat and Talent’ on the front. I certainly showed that to be true in this competition.”

Rachel is a member of Beaver Sailing Club, near Snaith.