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Two World titles for young British sailor in Broo Musto Skiff Worlds

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World on 16 Jan 2011
Daniel Henderson (GBR) crosses the finish line off Black Rock Yacht Club to win the 2011 Musto Performance Skiff World Championship © Richard Gladwell www.richardgladwell.com

Young British sailor, Daniel Henderson (21) has scored the double in the Broo Premium Lager Musto Performance Skiff World Championships, sailed from the Black Rock Yacht Club on Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne.

After 11 of the 12 races sailed, Henderson won the World title and the Youth title backing up compatriot Lawrie Smith, who yesterday won the World Dragon Championships, from the Royal Brighton Yacht Club.

Henderson who graduated into the Musto skiff after sailing Optimists and 29ers, won the World Championship with virtually a day to spare, and scored a sixth and fourth place on the final day to finish 11pts ahead of Bruce Keen (GBR) with Marcus Hamilton (AUS) in third overall. 42 competitors from eight countries contested the ISAF recognised world championship. The Musto High Performance skiff is one of the newest international classes - and is the epitome of extreme sailing being a singlehander with trapeze mainsail and asymmetric spinnaker speeds in excess of 20kts are common, and top out at 27kts.

Speaking with Sail-World after the World Championship, Henderson put his success down to consistency on the opening three days of the regatta when he won one race and didn't place outside the top four in any of the five races sailed.

'I went into today with a good lead and a really good discard. I was 12 points ahead and would really have had to mess up badly to miss the world title.'

Henderson has been sailing since he was five years old starting in the Optimist class before moving onto the Byte, Laser Radial and then the 29er as a crew before he moved into the Musto skiff when he was 17 years old.


Weighing 74kgs and just 6ft tall, Henderson is on the light side for the Musto Skiff. However a light air series for the World titles was a factor in his favour.

'I am reasonably light for the class, ideally you want to be 80-85kgs, and Richard Stenhouse is 95kg.'

'My best result prior to this regatta was two second places in the British Nationals, but I threw it away on the last day. For this regatta I learned how to mentally prepare myself, and went into the final day with the attitude that it was just like the first day of the regatta again, and while I didn't ignore what was happening at the end of the event, I just didn't think about it.

'I pulled myself back from 15th to sixth at the finish of the first race today and after that I just forgot about it all', he added.

From there, Henderson intends to stay with the Musto Skiff. 'I would like to go Olympic, but the competition in the UK in the 49er class is just outstanding. I will go to the Europeans in Slovenia this year, and take things from there.'

Henderson is studying Sports Science at University and has recently relocated to Stokes Bay. 'There are another 12 Mustos at Stokes Bay, so it is really good for training.' He doesn't have a coach and the training consists of working out against other sailors and working through various fleet routines. Improving boat handling comes through sailing in big breezes, and getting quicker and slicker around the boat - handling the trapeze, mainsail and spinnaker - a four handed job even on a good day!

'I have always seen myself as a person who likes to sail alone. And after the 29er there didn't seem to be too many options. Mustos were growing well at the time, and I had a demo sail when I was 17years old, and just stayed with it.'

'I trained here the week before the worlds started, and we had 20kts every day. I expected to come away with a top seven place. But the lighter conditions that have prevailed this week, have really helped me. Prior to the worlds I had to really work hard to stay on pace with the heavier guys, but this week it was much easier,' he adds.

'My first two or three days won me the event, with my consistency. I had two bad races on the following day and I lost my lead, but got it back again.'

'I would like to hit the gym, put on some more weight and get up to the 80kg mark which will make it easier for me.'

For full results http://www.yachting.org.au/site/yachting/event/31986/overall_2_1.html!click_here

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