As the RYA Volvo Youth National Championships 2012 came to a close on Friday (6 April) after four days of adrenaline-charged racing in Cardigan Bay, Sarah Webb Gosling OBE who represented Britain twice at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships and won two consecutive Olympic gold medals, revealed the names of the twelve sailors who will represent RYA Volvo Team GBR – the team set to compete for Great Britain in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships.
The ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship 2012, to be held from 12-21 July in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, is the 42nd edition of the championship. The venue for the championship will be the Royal St George, National and Royal Irish yacht clubs on Dublin Bay. The event is dubbed as the pinnacle event of the Youth sailing calendar, seen by many as the ‘Youth Olympics’ for sailing, and has over the years identified talented sailors such as Olympic gold medallists Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy and Sarah Ayton.
Leading the charge for British Team will be Rupert White and his new crew Tom Britz in the multi-hull catamaran class. White has a wealth of experience on his side, winning a bronze medal at last year’s event in Zadar, Croatia, as well as being the grandson of the late Reg White who won gold in the Tornado at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games.
The due didn’t make it easy for the selectors however, as White/Britz had a slow start to the RYA Volvo Youth Nationals eventually finishing second. Conversely with the top boat not being eligible for selection due to age restrictions, the pair made up for their slow start by securing a first and second on the final day - finishing two points in front of Alicia Clifford/Harry Willett.
White said on his selection: “It’s fantastic to be selected for a second consecutive year running. We certainly didn’t make it easy for ourselves posting some poor scores at the beginning of the regatta which made it a very stressful week.”
“Tom and I haven’t been sailing together for long, and there aren’t many events to compete together in the multi-hull class so it’s quite hard to prepare for an event when you can’t race against other boats. We have learnt a lot from this week and will work extremely hard on certain aspects of racing in time for the ISAF Youth Worlds in July.”
Britz, crew of the Spitfire and ex Laser Radial sailor, added: “It feels great to be selected for such a prestigious team. Rupert has a wealth of experience in this class so we are very optimistic for the event in Dublin, especially with Rupert winning a bronze last year – I know he wants to go one better this year!”
Adding to the calibre of RYA Volvo Team GBR are the 420 teams who demonstrated the level of racing they are capable of with two fantastic performances across the four days of racing. Annabel Vose/Kirstie Urwin, both from Royal Lymington Yacht Club, will lead the charge in the female fleet whilst in the 420 boys class, Charlie Cox/Craig Dibb will once again make the trip to the ISAF Youth Worlds with the intention of improving upon their top ten finish at last year’s event.
“We definitely want to go to this year’s event with the intention of winning a medal. Last year’s event in Zadar was more of a process regatta for us were we went with the intention to learn and test ourselves against the best sailors from around the world. This time around it is certainly an outcome regatta - we will be aiming to perform to the best of our ability and fingers crossed bring back a medal,” explained Cox.
Dibb added: “We learnt a lot from the regatta last year and also from the RYA Volvo Youth Nationals this week. We unquestionably need to go back to our local sailing club and work on a few key aspects which let us down in certain races this week. The most important being how to deal with racing when under pressure.”
The 29er class was a tough battle at the top of the fleet, but in the end the regatta win and the ISAF Youth Worlds spot went to 29er duo Ben Batten/Tim Gratton. The high performance dinghy sailors had a great start to the week which continued across the four days posting five bullets out on the Welsh waters of Cardigan Bay. The pair have only recently formed a new partnership after Tim Gratton made the switch from the double handed 420 six months ago proving themselves effective in all conditions which will be useful when competing in Dun Laoghaire in July.
In the RS:X windsurfing category Cheadle’s Kieran Martin and Launceston’s Saskia Sills will be doing battle for the team in Dublin.
Martin, who is the 2011 Techno 293 U17 Windsurfing World Champion and U17 RS:X European Champion, proved his skill performing under pressure to gain his place on the team through count back against Stuart Hards, who led the regatta for most of the week in an extremely tight fought competition.
Sills, who carved out victory at her first RYA Volvo Youth National Championships with an impressive and consistent set of scores will be the youngest member of the British team.
Having just won out on the race course, Sills said: “It’s my first time racing here in Pwllheli and my first RYA Volvo Youth National Championships so it feels amazing to have won.”
Sills continued: “I didn’t really come to win, I came to gain experience for next year's event so I can’t quite believe it! My brother Sam [2010 & 2011 RYA Volvo Youth National Champion in the RS:X Men’s class] has been great, giving me a few tips and making sure I’m on track but, when it comes to racing I like to focus myself without anyone’s input. The weeks been pretty cold but the sailing conditions have been great; I like any wind to race although I did find Tuesday a little bit too windy!”
“Dublin is going to be a great experience for me and my future windsurfing career,” concluded the 2011 U17 Techno World Champion.
In the single handed category, Welsh sailors Michael Beckett and Ellie Meopham made the most of their local knowledge making up GBR’s contenders in the Laser Radial class.
Ellie Meopham, the Welsh sailor from Fishguard Bay SC, commented: “It’s quite over whelming to have won but I’m really happy and it’s such a great way to end the week. Today’s first race didn’t go well but in the last two races I had great starts. Generally the weeks racing has gone well; there’s been a mixture of conditions which have suited all the sailors and Pwllheli is a great sailing venue. The Youth Worlds is going to be the biggest regatta I have ever sailed in so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Once again, RYA Volvo Team GBR will be supported by Volvo Car UK and Henri Lloyd, who will be the official kit supplier for RYA Volvo Team GBR.
On the selection of RYA Volvo Team GBR, Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, commented: “It looks like we have a really exciting team for the 2012 Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships. Amongst the members of RYA Volvo Team GBR there are a number of previous medallists at Junior, and Youth, World and European Championships who I am sure will be keen to exhibit their skills and hopefully challenge for the medals on the big stage. We also have some young sailors who will be keen to soak up the experience, there are some really hot prospects in this team and no doubt they will be ones to watch for the future.
“Irrespective, to win their place in the team they have all worked very hard this week, they dug deep to win the regatta in every case on the final day, because it has been a really closely fought contest and I am really pleased to see that our sailors can keep their heads, deliver under pressure, and get the results when it counts – this will be the measure of them out in Ireland.”
RYA Volvo Team GBR Squad for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships 2012, Dublin Bay, Ireland (12th-21st July):
Boys: Craig Dibb (Warsash SC)/Charlie Cox (Royal Lymington Yacht Club)
Girls: Annabel Vose (Royal Lymington Yacht Club)/Kirstie Urwin (Royal Lymington Yacht Club )
Ben Batten (Lymington Town Sailing Club)/Tim Gratton (Hayling Island Sailing Club)
Boys: Kieran Martin (Carsington)
Girls: Saskia Sills (Launceston)
Boys: Michael Beckett (Solva SC)
Girls: Ellie Meopham (Fishguard Bay SC)
Rupert White (Brightlingsea SC)/Tom Britz (Royal Lymington Yacht Club)
For more information and final results from the RYA Volvo Youth National Championships 2012, or to view the event daily videos please visit www.ryaracingevents.org.uk or follow RYA Team GBR on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@YouthNationals).
Article Author Matt Carter 6/4/2012 23:22
Photo © Paul Wyeth