ISAF Youth Worlds - Brits gear up to defend the Nations Trophy
by Matt Carter on 11 Jul 2013
At the 2013 Sail First ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, Britain’s sailing stars of the future are all geared up to defend the prestigious Nations Trophy as they fly out to Limassol, Cyprus to represent RYA Volvo Team GBR at the pinnacle event of the Youth sailing calendar –
Annabel Cattermole and Bryony Bennett Lloyd 420 © Marc Turner /RYA http://marcturner.photoshelter.com/
The British Team clinched the trophy in Dublin Bay, Ireland, in 2012 after winning two world titles in the girls RS:X windsurfing and Open Multihull SL16 class along with a bronze medal in the female 420 class. The last time the GBR team won the Trophy in consecutive years was in 1995 and 1996, which is when Britain’s most successful Olympic sailor of all time, Ben Ainslie, won Laser Radial gold in Hamilton, Bermuda in 1995.
The event takes place between the 13-20 July and is the 43rd edition of the Championship. It is seen by many as the ‘Youth Olympics’ for sailing and will welcome in excess of 340 of the world’s top Olympic hopefuls from across 61 Nations, with the first race of the regatta on Monday 15 July.
The British sailors were selected for Cyprus following their performances at the 2013 RYA Youth National Championships at Largs, Scotland, in April with 2012 ISAF Youth Worlds golden girl, Saskia Sills, leading the charge for the British team out in Cyprus.
The RS:X windsurfer said: 'It’s such a great feeling to be a part of RYA Volvo Team GBR for a second year running. It’s such a unique event and to be able to attend the Youth Worlds at such a young age is just amazing. At last year’s event in Dublin Bay I entered the regatta with very little expectations as it was my ISAF Youth Worlds debut and to walk away with the gold medal was an incredible feeling and fantastic achievement - and to make things even better we also won the Nations Trophy which was the icing on the cake!'
Sills, who was nominated for the 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year and BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year Award after last summer’s dominance in the girls RS:X Windsurfing class, admits that this year’s event comes with a lot more pressure but is something which she will thrive off when she lines up against the 21 other RS:X girl competitors.
'This year is going to be completely different to last year as I’m entering as reigning champion. Everyone alwayslooks out for last year’s winner at events and of course the pressure is going to be on me to perform, but I think it’s something which I’m definitely looking forward to as I like to race when the pressure is on - I just can’t wait to get out to Cyprus and start racing!'
Ahead of the event, the Cornish windsurfer has been working tirelessly to prepare herself for the 13 race series as part of RYA Volvo Team GBR.
'Since being selected at the 2013 RYA Youth National Championships I have been working hard on a few key areas for Cyprus, in particular my starting which I’m now a lot more happy about. I have spent long hours in the gym whilst also juggling my exam revision which has been difficult at times. Competing at the Hyeres Sailing World Cup and Sail for Gold regatta earlier this year alongside Bryony [Shaw] and Izzy [Hamilton] was a great experience, and also training alongside them as part of the British Sailing Team has been invaluable.'
Fellow RS:X windsurfer Kieran Martin, Laser Radial sailor Ellie Meopham and 29er sailor Ben Batten will be joining Sills in the event veterans line up having competed in last year’s championships in Dublin.
The remaining eight sailors will be making their event debuts in Limassol, which will include SL16 sailors James Henson and Olivier Greber who are keen to emulate the success of 2012 RYA Volvo Team GBR representatives Rupert White and Tom Britz who won gold in Open Multihull event with a race to spare at last year’s regatta.
Henson, helm of the multihull, said: 'This will be the most high profile event and therefore will be the most pressurised event we have competed in. We are aiming to secure a medal at the Youth Worlds and after Rupert and Tom’s success in 2012 we want to try and fill their shoes. After training alongside them last year we feel we have the ability to achieve similar success to them this time around.'
Henson, who clinched the silver medal and U19 World title at the SL16 class World Championships last week (Friday 5th July) with his crew Greber, continued: 'As we are the sole British boat we will be aware that we’ll be being monitored by many so will want to win more than ever! We know that Cyprus is going to be very hot compared to our winter training in the UK and believe it could be quite a light breeze venue with the opportunity for some sea breeze effects to come in. It is also said to be quite flat which will fit in well with our strengths.
'In terms of competition it will certainly be very tough, with countries like France having trained in SL16's all winter and having many more numbers to train with,' concluded Henson.
Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, commented: 'The ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships are a great event, always different, always challenging but above all a great experience for our aspirant young sailors and windsurfers. For coaches Steve [Irish], Oli [Woodcock] and I it’s a great opportunity to spend more focussed time with some of our top sailors and we hope we’ll be able to provide an environment for them to learn a lot and have a great time. We hope that they return from the event inspired and with a clear set of priorities of where and how they can improve, it’s an opportunity to put experienced heads on young shoulders and if we do that we will have won from my perspective.'
'Once again we’re very grateful to have the support of our title sponsor, Volvo Car UK and our official clothing supplier, Henri Lloyd, it’s great to have such enthusiastic and committed partners sharing our passion for developing the next generation of the British Sailing Team. In terms of kit and support the sailors want for little, it’s clichéd but they just need to get out to the event, learn as much as they can about the venue as quickly as they can and then focus on effective processes and strong routines - from then on we’ll see what happens but the outcome will take care of itself.'
There will be between 11 and 13 races for each of the eight classes competing in Cyprus with the opening race of the regatta on Monday 15 July and the medals to be decided in the final race on Friday 19 July. All the British sailors are aged between 15 and 18.