Already a World Champion, 16 year old Hannah from Macclesfield became the first RYA NW Youth Champion in recognition of her outstanding achievement and performance.
Hannah was presented with her award by the British Sailing Team’s Dylan Fletcher, along with 12 other RYA Regional Youth Champions. She said she felt really honoured and it was an amazing result considering the number of really good sailors in the North West.
Hannah, who sails at Leigh and Lowton SC represented the country at the RS Feva world championships at Marina di Grosseto, Italy in July 2013. That was despite only having been teamed up with crew Bobby Hewitt for 10 months.
In a fleet of 173 boats representing 14 nations, and after 14 races, they finished first overall winning with a race to spare and a 21 point lead over the second placed boat. In winning the event they also beat the more experienced reigning champions on their home waters.
Dylan Fletcher commented: “It was great to meet everyone and to present these inaugural awards. It’s really important to recognise people on every level and these youngsters are all so passionate about their sport and they all put in the extra effort”.
Hannah has that passion. She does a session of fitness training every day before school, and supplements that with regular workouts on a climbing wall to improve strength and agility. She also goes skiing whenever she can.
The whole Bristow family are keen sailors. Weekends often present logistical challenges with Hannah and sisters Izzy (13) and Madelaine (10) going to sailing events in separate areas of the country. Because she is working her way through the RYA's pathway that could lead to the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, Hannah often faces a five and a half hour journey to the South Coast for training and competition.
Hannah's targets for 2014 include defending her world title, competing with her dad Graeme in his RS500 at those world championships, along with national and inland championships.Along with those, she has GCSE exams this year but she will not let her studies suffer. Every day she tackles her revision and homework as soon as she gets back from school so she is soon clear to train or sail.
She likes the commitment and dedication needed to do well in her chosen sport. “Its about pushing yourself to the limits.” As well as sailing the RS Feva and the RS500, Hannah is also sailing in the 29er skiff class which is the follow-on in her training progression.The nationals and inland events in that class are also on the schedule for 2014.
The classes that Hannah sails are two-handed and she has a clear view of how to achieve success on the water: “It's important to communicate and have a good relationship with the crew. Set clear goals and try to achieve them, without blaming others when things go wrong.”
Her mum Sally says Leigh and Lowton was the best choice of club for them because of the very competitive youth programme there.