ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships - Team GBR on form in Dublin

by RYA 
Team GBR RS:X action at the 2012 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships
At the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, RYA Volvo Team GBR are harbouring promising positions across a number of classes as the event nears the half way stage in Dublin bay, Ireland.

Leading the charge for RYA Volvo Team GBR in emphatic style is RS:X windsurfer Saskia Sills and the SL16 duo of Rupert White and Tom Britz, each posting four race wins in the opening seven races to sit them top of their respective leader boards. Annabel Vose and Kirstie Urwin are also firing on all cylinders in the 420 class sitting level on points at the top of the fleet with still three days of competition left on Dublin Bay.

With today (Tuesday 17 July) being a lay day, Sills, 15, from Cornwall, who is the team’s youngest member, has dominated from the word go opening up a 13 point gap over her nearest rival in second place.

'I’m having a great week and lots of fun' enthused Sills. 'I’m really pleased with my performance so far, it‘s pretty similar to the Europeans last week where I didn’t have any expectation coming into the event. The two bullets on the opening day was unbelievable which I think is what has boosted my confidence in the other races. I’ve just been focusing on my process goals and have been trying to do the best I can.'

Great Britain’s sailors have battled against 61 other nations and testing conditions ranging from offshore winds, torrential rain and reduced visibility. With this being Sill’s first ISAF Youth Worlds, and only having recently transitioned onto the Youth RS:X board from the BIC Techno junior board, the young windsurfer admitted to being quite shocked when she found herself at the front of the fleet in the opening race of the regatta.

'I didn’t expect to start off as well as I have, I got to the front of the fleet in the opening race and was like ‘Wow’ I’m in front!' laughed Sills. 'The conditions we are racing in are just like the ones I’m used to England - I love them! It’s what I train in day in day out and I think it has thrown a few of the foreigners. I didn’t expect them to start the race yesterday as it was reaching 28 knots at times which I think again was a shock to some of my competitors.'

Continuing the GBR dominance, Rupert White and Tom Britz have begun the event from where they left off in France last week, where the duo were crowned 2012 SL16 class World Champions. Posting four race wins, two seconds and a discardable seventh, the pair take a healthy seven point lead into the business end of the regatta.

'Coming into the event I didn’t really know what to expect, I didn’t know who was going to be here or how good any of the competitors were going to be or how they would sail in the different wind conditions. I now know who will be doing what which is good to know as we head towards the final stages,' said White.

'Winning the world title last week definitely gave us a confidence boost coming into the event and probably sent a few shivers down the spines of our competitors which is always good and puts us ahead psychologically, and also having competed at the event last year I kind of know what to expect.'

Tom Britz, crew of the SL16 Catamaran, added: 'Our aims now are to try and keep ahead, make sure we don’t do anything stupid and to stay close to the two boats who are in second and third. We need to try and keep the lead heading into the final race on Friday.'

In the girls 420 class, Annabel Vose and her relatively new crew Kirstie Urwin, have had a dream start to their first ever ISAF Youth Worlds as the duo from Royal Lymington Yacht Club have it all to play for in the final five races of the Championships.

Annabel Vose, current ladies 420 class World Champion, said: 'We never thought we would be in a medal position at this stage of the event so it’s fantastic. We‘re really pleased and even more pleased with the way we are sailing the boat together considering it is quite a new partnership.

'We have had every condition possible which suits us really well. Yesterday wasn’t our best day but we got two good counters which is something which the rest of the fleet haven’t, we just need to keep enjoying the event and continue to work on our processes and hopefully the results will come,' concluded the 17-year-old.

Craig Dibb and Charlie Cox have posted a consistent set of scores in the boys 420 fleet to leave them in sixth overall. In the 29er class, making their event debuts Ben Batten and Tim Gratton are challenging for a podium position following a strong day out on the water yesterday with a third and fourth to put them in fifth overall.

2012 RS:X European silver medallist Kieran Martin is currently lying an extremely promising sixth place at the half way point while Laser Radial sailors Ellie Meopham and Michael Beckett are ninth and 17th respectively.

The Brits currently sit at the top of the pile in the Nations Trophy, very close with the French team who have won the Nations trophy more times than any other nation, and have topped the leader board for the last three years since Britain last brought the trophy home in 2008.

Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager commented: 'I am extremely happy with how the sailors have performed this week, they have been focussed, determined and above all consistent in conditions where it would have been all too easy to clock up a massive score in one or two races and put yourself out of contention.

'The sailors have not raced much since the RYA Volvo Youth National Championships at Pwllheli this Easter, and so I guess we are fortunate that we’ve had a shifty, offshore, rainy week – basically conditions that many of our sailors have had plenty of exposure too throughout the Junior and Youth classes at home, that said the sailors have still had to race really cleverly, blending risk and reward to get up to the front of the fleet in each race without risking it all.

Truswell concluded: 'We go into tomorrow, positive, relaxed and determined. It looks like we will have some breeze and yet more rain for the next couple of days with the breeze staying in the west which has been a key feature of the regatta so far. We are just past the half way mark, but there are still five scheduled races to go and so the sailors will have to keep their heads, continue to look after themselves and each other to keep grinding out consistent performances in order to stay top of the pile come the end of the week.'

Two races are scheduled for both Wednesday and Thursday with the final race of the Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships 2012 scheduled for Friday 15 July. Sailors will depart on Saturday 21 July.

ISAF Youth Worlds website