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Five British medals at EUROSAFs

by Imogen Stanley 3 Aug 2015 11:10 PDT 2 August 2015

The British Youth Sailing Team won five medals at the 2015 EUROSAF Youth European Championships, Brest, France which drew to a close on Sunday (2 August).

The final medal race day brought 25 knots of wind and strong currents as Jack Cookson won gold in the Laser Radial. 29er pairings Anna Prescott-Eve Townsend and Mimi El-Khazindar-Emma Loveridge won silver and bronze respectively while Daniel Venables and Patrick Keech won a second 29er silver. Jenny Cropley and Emma Baker rounded off the British medal haul with 420 silver.

Jack Cookson's gold in the Laser Radial, adds to his ever growing summer medal collection after winning bronze at the Laser Radial Youth Europeans earlier this year. It was a winner takes all medal race battle between Cookson and his two Italian opponents, Gianmarco Planchestainer and Paolo Giargia, the Brit came out on top beating the Italians by just one and two points overall.

"My week was really tricky, really tight with the other competitors. It was nervous trying to get low scores every day. It feels really good, it was one of my goals at the start of the year so I'm really happy," said Cookson from Portland.

"The week was shifty, really choppy with quite a tidal course. It involved a lot of thinking on your toes. My favourite race was probably the medal race, it was the most fun. Really good racing but was great to come away with the results I did."

Cookson and Daniel Whiteley, who finished fifth, will now take a short break before heading out to Kingston, Canada for the Laser Radial Youth World Championships (14-20 August). Karyna Manuel (Grafham Water) ended her week in eighth while Ellie Brown (Beaver SC) was eleventh.

The British 29ers won a hat trick of medals, two silvers and a bronze.

Prescott and Townsend (Hayling Island SC) struggled in the windy medal race however they had done enough work earlier in the week for their silver said Prescott: "The medal race was so windy, a bit too windy for us, it was different to all the others which were lighter and shiftier which we prefer.

"It's amazing to win silver and we are really pleased. In the end it was really close and we had a scary last race."

Townsend continued: "We are very happy, very relieved. This is probably the best racing we have done all year, really good close racing with the top people. We improved as the week went on getting two firsts on day four."

El-Khazindar and Loverdige's final medal race domination, winning by over a minute, was enough to put them on the podium for bronze.

"The medal race today was awesome, we had really good wind and a really good lead on the fleet. And we just sailed our own race," said Loveridge from Stratford-upon-Avon.

"It's a fantastic opportunity to have come to the EUROSAFS here in Brest," continued Lymington's El-Khazindar.

"It's been an honour to win a medal representing Great Britain and be part of such a great team this week."

Polish Aleksandra Melzacka and Maja Micinska took the 29er girls' overall win.

Dan Venables and Patrick Keech from Sutton battled it out with the French pairing Nael Gwendal and Pierre Tydgat.

The French eventually took the final advantage to win although Venables is already looking forward to their next meeting at the 29er World Championships in Pwllheli later this month: "Pretty good racing all week and we had some really good battles with the French boats.

"We couldn't quite reduce the gap to the French boat in the medal race but we will take second this time and hopefully we can put that right at the Worlds next week."

Ollie Aldridge and Nathaniel Gordon (Parkstone YC) finished fifth, counting two race wins and a second.

Lymington 420 duo Jenny Cropley and Emma Baker jostled with French sailors Jessie Kampman and Anael Ponthieu finishing the week on joint points. The Brits lost out in the tie break having been beaten in the medal race.

Although missing out on the top spot Baker was still smiling: "The week has been really exciting and we are so happy. We went into the event aiming for a medal as we were fourth last year and just missed out."

Jemma Viney and Tilly Matthews had already returned home after injury prevented them racing. In the boys' 420 Daniel Atherton (Gurnard) and Matthew Viney (Cardiff) finished sixth, King brothers Robbie and Alex from Warsash were eleventh.

A race disqualification for Brightlingsea's Eddie Bridle and James King dropped them down to fifth in the SL16, Jack Butters and Samuel James (Parkstone YC) were seventh.

Windsurfers Emily Hall and Alice Read finished fourth and seventh respectively. In the boy's division Cameron Coghill finished sixth while James Hatcher was eighth.

Tim Hall, RYA Pathway Manager and EUROSAF Team Leader was pleased with the British performance: "We had a really good week out in Brest and the sailors were challenged with some very difficult conditions, light winds at the start of the week building to over 25 knots for the medal races alongside very strong currents.

"Being a multi-class event it was a great learning experience for any of our sailors hoping to compete in future Olympic events. Tim Jones has also been extremely valuable, he has been guiding the sailors on their nutrition, hydration as well as activation sessions before and after sailing. Overall the event was about learning as much as we could and to come back with five medals and be third in the Nation's Trophy is a bonus."

For full results see www.eurosaf.org

See also British Youth Sailing Team Facebook page and on Twitter at @RYAyouthracing.

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