Defending champions Royal favourites to retain title | Daily News


Ranil Dias Memorial Trophy Royal-Thomian Sailing Encounter

Defending champions Royal favourites to retain title

Royal College sailing team.
Royal College sailing team.

S. Thomas’ College sailing team.

The Royal-Thomian Sailing Encounter 2019 is scheduled to be held on Saturday, July 6 at the Ceylon Motor Yacht Club in Moratuwa.

Competition sailing is challenging and demands a higher level of mental and physical stamina as sailors have to manoeuvre their sails in order to gain speed in rough winds and waves all by themselves out in the water. Thus the preparation by both schools for the encounter would have been tremendous under the guidance of their respective coaching staff.

The annual battle for the ‘Ranil Dias Memorial Trophy’ between the two schools consists of six races in two boat classes - Optimist Class for junior sailors below the age of 15 and Laser class for senior sailors. Each class will have a team race and an individual race.

The race course mainly comprises three legs, sailing downwind, upwind and parallel to the wind. Both schools are equally experienced and skilled to battle for the trophy this year.

Royal College, being the defending champions, are the favourites to regain the shield this year under the captaincy of the experienced Nisal Walpola. Walpola, the current national champion in Laser class, played a decisive role last year to bring the shield to Reid Avenue. He was adjudged the Best Sailor of the event for two consecutive years. This feat alone is historic as it is the first time ever an individual had achieved it.

Kaif Sally will be assisting him in the Laser class while Sahanya Wevita will be leading the junior Optimist Class team.

The Royal team consists of three junior national sailors Wevita, Udan Marapperuma and Manthisa Gunasekara who will represent Sri Lanka at the Asian and Oceanian Optimist Regatta in Thailand in October. The team is coached by the national coach W.P.K Janaka and Radheeka Jirasinghe.

The Thomian team too comprises several national sailors and is led by experienced campaigner Kethaka Weerasooriya and the optimist team is led by Shashenka Fernando. Fernando along with three other sailors, Dhanika Nanayakkara, Nikhil Nanayakkara, and Tharen Nanayakkara will be sailing in the IODA team, which gives the Thomians the edge over the Royal in Optimist class. Skipper Weerasooriya is well known among the sailing community in Sri Lanka for his achievements of winning many regattas and for representing Sri Lanka.

Weerasooriya came second in the sailing nationals this year held in Crow Island.

The Thomian coach Nadine de Rosayro is confident about the team and is happy with their preparations to compete in this year’s Royal-Thomian Encounter. This year’s Royal-Thomian will be an interesting encounter, as the two sides are evenly matched and the spectators can expect a thriller like last year where Royal won the shield by one point.

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