ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships - Team GBR prepared to battle
by Matt Carter on 12 Jul 2012
Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships 2012 are being held in Dublin from Thursday 12 July. RYA Youth Racing Manager Duncan Truswell is backing his young guns to achieve their potential and follow in the footsteps of some of Britain’s London 2012 sailing superstars as RYA Volvo Team GBR gear up to do battle against the world’s top youth sailors.
Rupert White and Tom Britz,Spitfire - 2012 Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships © Paul Wyeth / RYA http://www.rya.org.uk
The event, dubbed the pinnacle event of the Youth sailing calendar, has over the years helped to identify and develop some of Britain’s most talented young sailors, such as multiple Olympic gold medallists Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy and Sarah Ayton. This 42nd edition of the Championship takes place at the Royal St George, National and Royal Irish yacht clubs on Dublin Bay from Thursday 12 to Saturday 21 July.
Leading the charge for British team will be the recently crowned 2012 SL16 World Champions, Rupert White and Tom Britz, in the Open Multihull class. White has a wealth of experience on his side, winning the class world title in France and a bronze medal with his previous sailing partner, Nikki Boniface, at last year’s ISAF Youth Worlds event in Zadar, Croatia. He is the grandson of the late Reg White, who won Olympic gold in the Tornado at Montreal 1976, and the son of Rob White who competed in the Tornado at the 1984 and 1988 Games.
White said: 'It was fantastic to be selected for a second year running. I certainly learnt a huge amount from my experience last year in Croatia. I’m now planning to take what I learnt, and the confidence I gained from winning a bronze medal and the SL16 world title last week, into this year’s event. It’s going to be a tough week of racing, especially as Tom and I have only been sailing together for just under a year, but we’re positive and we will be looking to finish on the podium come the end of the week.'
Ainslie, who will be competing for a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal in Weymouth and Portland later this month, won ISAF Youth Worlds Laser gold in 1995 as well as silver in 1994. Iain Percy and windsurfer Nick Dempsey are ISAF Youth World bronze medallists from 1993 and 1998 respectively as is Team GB’s newest sailing member, Ali Young, who claimed Laser Radial silverware in 2005.
White added: 'To think that sailors like Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy have been in the same position as me is such a great feeling. To be following in their footsteps is incredible and I will certainly be aiming to bring back another medal from Ireland and to one day go on and compete at an Olympic Games myself.'
The 12 members of RYA Volvo Team GBR all won their place on the team following some outstanding performances at the RYA Volvo Youth National Championships (April 2012). Also representing RYA Volvo Team GBR for a second consecutive year are 420 sailors Charlie Cox and Craig Dibb. The remaining nine sailors will be making their event debuts in Ireland.
The duo from the South Coast finished last year’s regatta in seventh. But with a year now passed, and with two impressive performances in 2012 at the RYA Volvo Youth National Championships and at the ISA Youth Nationals 2012 (the unofficial test event for the ISAF Youth Worlds) which took place in Dublin Bay earlier in the year, the duo are confident they can improve on last year’s result.
'We definitely want to go to this year’s event with the intention of winning a medal,' explained Cox. 'Last year’s event in Croatia was more of a process regatta for us whereby we went with the intention to learn and test ourselves against the best sailors from around the world. This time around it is certainly an outcome regatta and we’re confident we can do well.'
Girls 420 helm Annabel Vose, the current 420 World Champion who will be competing at this regatta with Kirstie Urwin, added: 'To be going to the ISAF Youth Worlds is a real honour as its only one boat, per class, per nation that gets selected. To beat our closest rivals here in the UK at the selection event and to now go on and compete against the best in the world is a great achievement and something which we are really looking forward to.'
In the 29er class, Ben Batten and Tim Gratton have both echoed the achievements of their older brothers by becoming RYA Volvo Youth National Champions and will be looking to mirror their performance as they fly the flag for the GBR team in Dun Laoghaire. Gratton’s brother Ben won the 2009 420 ISAF Youth Worlds with Phil Sparks, while Batten’s brother Sam was a competitor in the 29er class in 2009 and 2010 and is now a member of the Skandia Team GBR Transitional Squad programme.
Meanwhile, 2011 Techno U17 World Champion/2012 U17 RS:X European Champion Saskia Sills and 2011 Techno Windsurfing World Champion/2012 RS:X European silver medallist Kieran Martin will be making their mark on the Championships for the first time in the RS:X windsurfing class, while Welsh sailors Ellie Meopham and Michael Beckett will be laying down the gauntlet in the single handed Laser Radial class.
Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, commented: 'The ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship is always a great event, with over 60 nations competing and so much effort expended by all the teams to ensure that their sailors are optimally prepared, hence you can always guarantee some fantastic competition and the presence of some really talented sailors.
'Our sailors have had their heads in the books for the last couple of months which is not the best preparation, but they have been working hard over the last couple of weeks to get sailing fit, and they are passionate, committed and capable. The windsurfers and catamaran teams have come out here straight on the back of the European and World Championships respectively so they should be race sharp, if a little fatigued, and the rest of the team will be aiming to provide the best possible environment for them to do their best, learn as much as possible and use the competition as a springboard for their class World and European Championships taking place throughout the rest of the summer.'
Truswell concluded: 'This year RYA Volvo Team GBR has a real blend of age and experience, which I hope will create a good dynamic, and a fun atmosphere for our guys to go out and achieve their potential. It’s great to be involved in an event where you can create a genuine team environment with sailors across a range of classes who don’t generally get the opportunity to get to know each other, offer support and share ideas and experiences.'
Once again, RYA Volvo Team GBR will be supported by Volvo Car UK and Henri Lloyd, who will be the official kit supplier for the GBR team.
The official arrival day for sailors for the event is Thursday 12 July, with the first race of the Championships commencing on Saturday 14 July and the final race on Friday 20 July. Sailors will depart on Saturday 21 July.
RYA Volvo Team GBR Squad for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships 2012, Dublin Bay, Ireland (12th-21st July):
Boys: Craig Dibb (Warsash SC)/Charlie Cox (Royal Lymington Yacht Club)
Girls: Annabel Vose (Royal Lymington Yacht Club)/Kirstie Urwin (Royal Lymington Yacht Club)
Ben Batten (Lymington Town Sailing Club)/Tim Gratton (Hayling Island Sailing Club)
Boys: Kieran Martin (Carsington)
Girls: Saskia Sills (Launceston)
Boys: Michael Beckett (Solva Sailing Club)
Girls: Ellie Meopham (Fishguard Bay Sailing Club)
Rupert White (Brightlingsea Sailing Club)/Tom Britz (Royal Lymington Yacht Club)