Volvo Trophy goes to Britain at Youth Worlds

Jim Saltonstall and his "young ferrets" on the final day of the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship

Great Britain topped the medal table as the podium positions were decided on the final day of racing at the 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Århus, Denmark.

On the final day of the 38th championship all the medal positions bar the Boy’s 29er fleet remained the same from yesterday’s leaderboard. Argentines Germán Billoch and Gastón Cheb Terrab clinched a win in the last race of the series pushing the American’s Judge Ryan and Hans Hensen into bronze position.

An elated Terrab explained, 'I am really, really happy to get a silver medal here. We had a bad start but we took the right hand side and had great speed. We kept looking for the gusts and when we tacked over we were in front of everyone, including the British boys. We always had speed today and just maintained our lead. USA got a sixth in the race which was enough for us to jump up.'

The GBR boys James Peters and Edward Fitzgerald posted a fourth today but after the disqualification of the Americans from one of yesterday’s race they were never going to be caught. A delighted Peters said, 'It’s a dream come true really. It’s just so good that all the hard work we put in and all the hours in January in the freezing cold have finally paid off. It’s just great that we could make it count in this event.'

Fitzgerald added, 'When I started sailing with James, ever since then everything’s been towards it [winning the Youth Worlds], so I can’t really believe it yet.'

The Volvo Trophy went to Britain but the fight for second place was a close fought one with New Zealand pipping Australia to the post with only two points separating them.

'To come out here and win two gold medals, a bronze medal, win the Volvo Trophy and to also finish topping the medal table, we’ve got to be pleased with that,' said Simon Wergen, RYA Youth Racing Manager. He explained that teamwork was key to the British success, 'We have really sailed as a team here and when people have needed to post results to score us points in the Volvo Trophy standings, they went out and did it.'

Frances Peters and Claire Lasko
Helping Britain to win the Volvo trophy was the Girl’s 29er team of Frances Peters and Claire Lasko who came second in today’s race and were very pleased with their consistency throughout the event.

Peters commented, 'We are the most pleased about this win than any other competition and winning the Volvo Trophy for the GBR Team is a bonus.'

Dutch team Annemiek Bekkering and Jeske Kisters pushed the Brits the whole way through the series to win the silver medal with Hannah Nattrass and Michelle Muller of Australia winning their second consecutive bronze medal.

In the SL16 fleet the focus was on the battle for silver and bronze after French brothers Valentin and Romain Bellet had secured overall victory yesterday. The Australian team of Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin were fast starters and lead around the course to score their first bullet of the championship and move up to sixth place overall.

Of the four teams who had a shot at a medal, Singapore put in the best performance with a second place but it was not quite enough. The young South African team of helm Matthew Whitehead, aged 14, and crew Michael Ovenstone, aged 17, scored their worst result of the regatta with a tenth place finish, but crucially their closest challengers for second place overall, the British team of James Ellis and Andrew Glover were only one place ahead.

This gave Whitehead and Ovenstone the silver medal, whilst Ellis and Glover won bronze on countback from Singaporeans Wen Chun Low and Jonathan Russel Wei Xiang Chew.

Although narrowly missing out on the medals, the Singapore team will not leave Århus empty handed. They won the Bengt Julin Trophy for Sportsmanship, re-introduced at this year’s championship and voted for by other teams and competitors. The team won this for their friendly attitude and helpful manner with everyone at the championships, especially the Athlete Participation Programme (APP) sailors.

Team Cyprus has only three competitors in the championships, making their two gold medals, one by Pavlos Kontides in the Laser and the other in the Boy’s RS:X fleet by Michalis Malekkides, even more impressive. Kontides won his last race and straight after praised his team for doing so well.

'I can’t believe that we won two gold medals it is great for a country as small as mine that we have two World Champions at this event. I hope this makes more people start sailing at home. It still hasn’t sunk in yet and I can’t believe I have won two golds.'

Sam Meech (NZL) 4th overall in Boys Laser after Day 4 of the ISAF Volvo Youth Worlds
Luke Lawrence (USA) did not sail today knowing he had done enough to secure silver yesterday from New Zealander Sam Meech in bronze position. Århus local Thorbjoern Schierup pushed himself to the limit to try and catch Meech but later admitted that he went too far and got a yellow flag for an incident in the only race of the day.

In the Laser Radial fleet Gabrielle King (AUS) still went out today to try and retain Team Australians position in the Volvo Trophy standings and won her race but unfortunately it was not enough to secure a second for them. Susana Romero of Spain posted a third in the last race which won her the silver medal with New Zealand’s Cushla Hume-Merry in bronze position.

There was no change at the top of the Girl’s RS:X with Polish windsurfer Maja Dziarnowska posting a first today and Patricia Freitas (BRA) close behind her in second, but this was not enough for the Brazilian to steal silver from her. Laura Linares (ITA) said her third gold medal win had still not sunk in, 'I still can’t believe it, it is wonderful!'

Cypriot Michalis Malekkides in the RS:X was beaten by both the Greek Thiseas Kampas and German competitor, Oliver-Tom Schliemann today but it did not change his gold medallist position. Kampas retained his silver medal while Schliemann, despite winning the race had to settle for bronze.

Jim Saltonstall Honoured -

Volvo Trophy final top five standings (calculated based on a nation’s top four crews after each race is completed across all the fleets):

1) Great Britain – 359 points
2) New Zealand – 331
3) Australia – 329
4) France – 313
5) Denmark 249

Final Leading positions

Laser - Boys
1 CYP Pavlos Kontides 13
2 USA Luke Lawrence 32
3 NZL Sam Meech 40
4 DEN Thorbjørn Schierup 61
5 CAN Robert Davis 64
6 GBR Stuart Godwin 67
7 AUS Thomas Burton 83
8 NED Maarten Max Moerman 88
9 BRA Jorge Joäo Zarif 98
10 IRL Ben Lynch 115

Laser Radial - Girls
1 AUS Gabrielle King 19
2 ESP Susana Romero 36
3 NZL Cushla Hume-Merry 44
4 CAN Isabella Bertold 49
5 FRA Mathilde De Karangat 54
6 DEN Cathrine Sofie Hall 60
7 SIN Elisbath Yeling Yin 62
8 FIN Heidi Tenkanen 64
9 USA Anne Haeger 69
10 POL Ewa Makowska 101

29er - Boys
1 GBR James Peters Edward Fitzgerald 39
2 ARG Germán Billoch Gastón Cheb Terrab 50
3 USA Judge Ryan Hans Henken 51
4 NZL Paul Snow-Hansen Ben Goodwin 61
5 AUS Byron White Rhys Mara 68
6 FRA Kevin Fischer Glenn Gouron 83
7 RSA Taariq Jacobs Neil Malan 97
8 GER Anton Berking Simon Gerling 126
9 FIN Mikko Kotamies Robin Lilius 134
10 ITA Ruggiero Tita Nicolas Piccinelli 1

29er - Girls
1 GBR Frances Peters Claire Lasko 24
2 NED Annemiek Bekkering Jeske Kisters 27
3 AUS Hannah Nattrass Michelle Muller 41
4 NZL Alexandra Maloney Bianca Barbarich-Bacher 52
5 SWE Sara Engström Hanna Dahlborg 52
6 GER Karin Marchart Tina Marchart 79
7 BRA Martine Grael Daniela Adler Pimentel Duarte 102
8 DEN Rie Galsgaard Marie Thusgaard Olsen 103
9 SIN Griselda Khng Cecilia Rui Qi Low 106
10 USA Julia Paxton Karoline Gurdal 129

Board - Boys
1 CYP Michalis Malekkides 26
2 GRE Thiseas Kampas 30
3 GER Oliver-Tom Schliemann 34
4 ISR Ron Asulin 52