by Matt Carter
At the 470 Junior European Championships, Britain’s 470 sailors concluded their event in Pwllheli, Wales, yesterday (22 August) with a double podium celebration in both the men’s and women’s division through Mike Wood-Hugh Brayshaw and Joanna Freeman-Katie Tomsett.
Mike Wood, Hugh Brayshaw - 470 Junior European Championsips
Counting nine top ten finishes from the ten race series, Wood and Brayshaw were only three points behind the gold medal position going into the final medal race decider, with Freeman and Tomsett nine points off the female title, but both were prevented from a chance to upgrade their silver into gold due to a lack of breeze on Cardigan Bay.
Both crews waited patiently for the forecast nine knot breeze to fill in, with 470 helm Wood the most eager to go racing, to try overcome the narrow three-point margin that the Israeli pairing of Gal Cohen/Dan Froyliche had at the top of the leaderboard in the final medal race, but the breeze never materialised and thoughts of racing were finally abandoned at 1530.
'We won a silver medal at last year’s Junior Europeans so we were hoping to go one better this year to be honest, but we are still really pleased with a medal and our performance across the week,' said the 21-year-old helmsman Wood.
'It was a little frustrating not to get in the medal race yesterday for a chance to upgrade the silver into gold. Having already got one silver medal in the bag from last year we didn’t have a lot to lose so we were actually quite keen to get out and give it all we had.'
The sailor from Leicester continued: 'We were only three points behind so in a double-points medal race that is a gap which could have been quite easily closed up, although saying that it could have easily gone the other way. We would have liked to have given it a shot but never mind.'
Wood and Brayshaw, who are members of the British Sailing Team’s Podium Potential Squad, posted a credible 16th at the recent 470 World Championships in La Rochelle, with Wood admitting that mixing it amongst the world’s best senior sailors has paid dividends in their continuous development and success at Junior level.
'I think it’s just been a good summer for us in general. We secured a top 20 result at the 470 Worlds which was a fantastic achievement and I think we took the experience, knowledge and practice from that regatta straight into this event which did us well. It’s been a long summer with a lot of events, but all the experience from doing the senior events and sailing against the best sailors from around the world has really benefited our performance in the Junior fleet,' explained Wood.
The female 470 crew of Joanna Freeman-Katie Tomsett, who are also part of the British Sailing Team Podium Potential programme, upgraded the bronze they won at the 2012 event with a consistent set of scores to secure them the second step on the podium behind winners Anna Kyselova-Anastasiya Krasko from Ukraine. GBR sailors Annabel Vose-Kirstie Urwin finished fifth with Amy Seabright-Anna Carpenter in sixth.
The 20-year-old crew Tomsett added: 'We are absolutely delighted with the silver medal! Our aim was to improve on our bronze medal which we achieved last year which we have done so we are just really happy.'
'We really enjoyed the mix of conditions across the week – it is really nice to have an event which challenges you in lots of different aspects. Every day was different which meant every race was different making it a really interesting and challenging regatta. It was great for us to be racing at the top of fleet which we can now take forward into our senior events,' concluded Tomsett from Portsmouth.
RYA 420 UK Youth Squad sailors Tim Riley and Luke Burywood also added to the British success claiming a bronze medal in the boys 420 Open Junior European event, finishing fifth overall. 2013 420 World Champions Annabell Cattermole and Bryony Bennett-Lloyd finished fourth in the 420 Ladies Junior European fleet.