by Matt Carter
At the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, Great Britain’s Rupert White and Tom Britz have made it two World Championship titles in the space of a fortnight as the RYA Volvo Team GBR sailors were crowned 2012 Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Champions in the Open Multihull SL16 class in Dublin Bay, Ireland.
Dublin Bay, Ireland: SL16 catamaran class at the practice race for the ISAF Youth World Sailing Championships sponsored by Four Star Pizza on Dublin Bay, Ireland.
A sensational series from the RYA Volvo National Youth Squad sailors saw the pair, who won the SL16 class World Championship in France earlier this month, add the prestigious ISAF Youth Worlds title to their ever growing trophy cabinet after two scintillating race wins today to secure the gold medal with one race to spare.
The SL16 catamaran sailors, who have only been sailing together since last September, have gone from strength to strength picking up seven race wins and two seconds from their 11 race series, leaving the Brits with a unassailable 17 point lead over their nearest rivals and last year’s ISAF Youth Worlds Champions from Brazil.
'It feels amazing but to be honest it hasn’t really sunk in yet – it’s just an incredible feeling,' said the grandson of the late 1976 Tornado Olympic gold medallist Reg White.
'To win here with a race to spare is a fantastic achievement. We have sailed a consistent regatta which is what we came here to do. We had a disappointing opening race but then managed to turn it around and our confidence increased throughout the week leading us to a few bullets and the all-important World title.
'We knew what we had to do today, and winning the first race was key as that set us up with a comfortable lead heading into race two. We knew we had done it when we had crossed the finish line in first, Tom and I couldn’t stop smiling – it was great! It’s certainly nice to be able to say I have medalled at the event for two consecutive years, and to say one was a gold is pretty cool. The next step is an Olympic class with my overall aim of competing at the 2020 Games, maybe even 2016,' expressed the 18-year-old from Brightlingsea.
Tom Britz, crew of the SL16 catamaran, has only been sailing with White since making the transition from the single-handed Laser Radial dinghy 10 months ago, and the youngster from Lymington agreed when asked if he thought he had made the right decision.
Rupert White and Tom Britz (SL16) - ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships 2012
'Without a doubt,' laughed Britz. 'I have really enjoyed sailing with Ru in the Cat, we have worked extremely hard over the past six to eight months and to be rewarded with a gold medal at the ISAF Youth Worlds is the icing on the cake. For me it’s amazing, I haven’t been able to stop smiling since we got off the water.'
With RYA Volvo Team GBR leading the charge for the Nations Cup, the SL16 sailors are adamant that they have still got a job to do for the team and that they will approach tomorrow’s final race focused and determined to win.
'We are treating tomorrow the same as we have done any other race this week, we will go through our processes and go out there with the intention of winning, in fact I know we will win! We want to do everything we can for the team to make sure we win the Nations Trophy,' stated Britz.
With a guaranteed silver medal in the RS:X female class for ISAF Youth Worlds debutant Saskia Sills, Britain could also enjoy further podium glory tomorrow. 420 sailors Annabel Vose and Kirstie Urwin are lying in third place overnight, two points ahead of the fourth-placed Chilean boat but a tough 10 points behind Carrie Smith and Ella Clark (AUS) who currently occupy the silver medal position, and 11 points off the Italian boat who lead heading into the final race of the regatta. Ellie Meopham is also in contention for a podium spot in the Laser Radial fleet, sitting nine points off bronze in sixth.
The overall Nations Cup sees RYA Volvo Team GBR embrace a 14 point lead over holders France who have won the team award three times in the last five years. Britain last won the trophy back in 2008 following two gold medals and a bronze in Aarhus, Denmark.
Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, commented: 'I am delighted for Ru and Tom for securing the World title, and I know the rest of RYA Volvo Team GBR are equally pleased and proud of them as I am. I commented last week that they had worked tremendously hard, but the truth is not only that, but they have sacrificed a lot over the last few months and put in a lot of time and effort to lay the foundations for this performance. All eyes were on them after the class Worlds last week but again they delivered.
'I could not be happier for either of them, and I only I hope the rest of the team will have plenty more to cheer about this time tomorrow. I have not heard the British national anthem since 2009 at this regatta and I look forward to doing so tomorrow, hopefully a few times!'
The final race of the Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships 2012 is scheduled for tomorrow Friday 20 July. Sailors will depart on Saturday 21 July.
ISAF Youth Worlds website