Please select your home edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

ISAF Youth Worlds - Young Brits ready to make their mark

by Matt Carter on 11 Jul 2014
RYA ISAF Team 2014 © Paul Wyeth / RYA
Twelve of Great Britain’s most promising young sailors are all set to make their mark on the world stage when racing at the 44th ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships gets underway on Monday (14 July).

The event, being staged in Tavira, Portugal, will see over 371 of the world’s top Olympic hopefuls from 68 nations competing for honours at the world’s premier youth sail racing event.

The 12 sailors, who fly out to the Portuguese venue today (Thursday 10 July) to begin preparations, were selected for the British Youth Sailing Team following their gold-medal winning performances at the 2014 RYA Youth National Championships in Weymouth and Portland this April.

And all but two will be making their ISAF Youth Worlds debuts at Portugal’s Clube Náutico de Tavira, located on the west side of the Algarve, with SL16 helm Oli Greber and 420 helm Tim Riley having enjoyed their first event appearance in Limassol, Cyprus last summer.

The British challenge will be led by 2013 ISAF Youth Worlds bronze medallist Oli Greber, who clinched a podium position crewing for former teammate James Henson in the SL16 catamaran class. This year, Greber, 18, has moved to the back of the boat to take up the helm and brings with him Lymington’s Jess Eales as his crew.

'My overall goal is to win a medal and obviously it would be incredible to achieve gold after coming so close with a bronze medal at last year’s event in Limassol, Cyprus. This year I have switched from crew to helm and am now sailing with Jess [Eales], so we are still relatively new in the boat together but are confident we can do well,' explained the 18-year-old from Eastbourne, East Sussex.

Sixteen teams featuring several former medallists will fight it out in the Open Multihull SL16 fleet, with defending Kiwi champion Micah Wilkinson, with new crew Jack Rogers, in attendance along with Brazil's Kim Vidal who Greber and Henson edged out of the bronze medal position in the final race of the 2013 regatta.

'It is a huge honour to represent Great Britain for a second consecutive year at what is the world’s biggest stage for Youth sailing. The ISAF Youth Worlds is such an incredible event and I’m looking forward to getting out to Portugal to race against the best sailors from around the world. There are some fantastic sailors in attendance and it will be great to race against some familiar faces from last year’s event.'

18-year-old Tim Riley from Warsash, Hampshire, who will this year be returning with crew James Taylor, is hoping his experience from Limassol, Cyprus will stand them in good stead when they line up in the boy’s 420 fleet.

'With this being my second time at the ISAF Youth Worlds I have a bit more of an understanding of what is going to happen and what is required at such a high profile event. It is a very different event to what we are used to - but as a pairing that has been to the class 420 Worlds and Junior European Championships - we have experience at the top level of our sport, which should help us start performing straight from the off.'

With multiple Olympic gold medallists Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy, Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb among the many high-profile Brits who have represented their country at the celebrated Under 19 event, the class of 2014 cannot wait to have the chance to follow in their heroes’ footsteps.

Sarah Norbury, who will be competing with her crew Mari Davis in the girl’s 420 class, said: 'It is going to be a real honour to represent our country and follow in the footsteps of some famous Olympians. It is really inspiring as well because we were looking at the trophies we had won at the selection event and could see lots of Olympic names on the trophies. It’s amazing to know we are taking a step in the right direction.'

At 15, boys’ Laser Radial sailor Jamie Calder is the youngest member of British Youth Sailing Team, and admits even though it would be a dream come true to win the regatta in Portugal, that his sights are set on learning as much as possible at what is regarded as the pinnacle event of Youth sailing.

'As I am only fifteen, this year is mostly to gain as much experience as possible from what is such a massive event. Having said that, my goal is to finish in the top 10 and go on to win the event in 2015.'

The Edinburgh youngster continued: 'As there is only one representative per country, everyone at the regatta will be of a very high standard. I have never been to Tavira but expect to get light air conditions and be sailing against the best youth sailors in the world. This will make the event really tough but if you want to be the best you have to beat the best!'

Imogen Sills will be hoping to emulate her twin sister Saskia’s success, who won gold at the 2012 event in Dublin, Ireland, in the girl’s RS:X windsurfing class, while Robert York will be flying the GBR flag in the boy’s event. Owen Bowerman and Morgan Peach will be gunning for glory in the 29er skiff class, with the due aiming to bow out of the RYA Youth Racing programme in impressive fashion.

Oli Woodcock, British Youth Sailing Team Head Coach in Tavira, commented: 'This year we have a fantastic team environment within the British camp and the sailors are all well prepared and eager to get out to Portugal for what will be a great event and fantastic learning experience. We have a relatively young team this year, with only two of the twelve having competed at the event before - however all are still extremely passionate, capable and committed to performing to the best of their ability.

'The main aim for this young, talented group of sailors is to learn as much as possible, have a great experience and to use this regatta as a springboard for their class World and European Championships taking place later on this summer. It’s important that the team isn’t thinking about the overall team trophy or the final results this early on, but that they are focused on their individual routines and processes. If the sailors can do that then we should be able to create an environment for them to learn a huge amount whilst having a fun and enjoyable regatta.'

Mark Nicholls, RYA Youth Racing Manager, added: 'As one of the premier senior Youth events on the calendar this is a tremendous opportunity for our sailors to show their potential on the world stage. We wish them all the best and are looking forward to them returning with a good haul of medals.'

All the British sailors are aged between 15 and 18 and will fly out to Portugal to begin their preparations on Thursday 10 July.

There are a maximum of 13 races scheduled for the five Youth classes at the Clube Náutico de Tavira. The opening race of the regatta is on Monday 14 July with the medals due to be decided on Friday 18 July.

The British Youth Sailing Team for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships 2014:


Boys: Tim Riley (Warsash SC)/James Taylor (Hayling Island SC)
Girls: Sarah Norbury (South Staffordshire SC)/Mari Davies (Club Hwylio Pwllheli)

Owen Bowerman (Hayling Island SC)/Morgan Peach (Royal Torbay YC)

Boys: Robert York (Skegness)
Girls: Imogen Sills (Roadford Lake SC)

Laser Radial
Boys: Jamie Calder (Loch Tummel/Royal Forth YC)
Girls: Ellie Cumpsty (Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club)

SL16 Catamaran
Olivier Greber (Pevensey Bay SC)/ Jess Eales (Royal Lymington YC/Hayling Island British Youth Sailing Team ISAF Youth Worlds

Related Articles

Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted today at 5:56 am
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Volvo Ocean Race appoints stadium racing pioneer as new CEO
Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Today his appointment has been confirmed.
Posted on 31 Mar
Bakewell-White Yacht DesignT Clewring AC72Naiad/Oracle Supplier