Sills Leads Five Medal Haul for Britain’s Youth Sailors
RYA Volvo Team GBR secure five medals at the EUROSAF Youth Sailing European Championship 2012
Britain’s Youth sailors matched the efforts of the British sailing team at London 2012 with a five medal haul at the EUROSAF Youth Sailing European Championship 2012 in Aarhus, Denmark, which came to a close on Friday (10th August).
Saskia Sills, who was crowned 2012 Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Worlds Champion last month, led the charge for RYA Volvo Team GBR clinching gold in the girls’ RS:X windsurfing class, with Noelle Finch rounding off a strong performance for the GBR windsurfers with the silver medal.
The 16-year-old Sills, from Launceston, Cornwall, sealed a staggering eight race wins across the 12 race series, and entered Friday’s medal race showdown five points ahead of her GBR counterpart Finch. With the European regatta holding a medal race for the first time in a youth championships of this kind, Sills was not fazed and went onto seal her ninth bullet and the European crown. Finch ended the medal race in fourth, securing the silver medal with a 17 point lead over the French sailor Melanie Jariel in third.
Adding to the GBR domination of the RS:X windsurfing class, Joe Bennett was clinical in the boys’ RS:X fleet with seven bullets across the five day regatta, and entered the medal race with a six point cushion over his nearest rival Mattia Camboni (ITA) in the race for gold. The RYA Volvo Youth National Championship bronze medallist held his nerve in the Aarhus Yachting Harbour to clinch sixth place in the medal race, finishing two points in front of the Italian to claim the RS:X European title.
Kieran Martin, who represented RYA Volvo Team GBR in Dublin Bay at the ISAF Youth World Championship, had an inconsistent regatta by his usual standards, however ended his regatta on a high with a bullet in the medal race securing the final place on the podium, three points off silver.
In the single handed Laser Radial class, Welsh sailor Michael Beckett posted a consistent set of scores across the nine race series. The RYA Volvo Youth National Champion finished the 10 man medal race in second place, clinching the silver medal, six points behind Henrik Begby (NOR) who took gold. Ellie Meopham, who joined Beckett in Dublin Bay and who posted a credible fourth on her ISAF Youth Worlds debut, finished her regatta in seventh while Ellie Cumpsty also qualified for the medal race finishing 10th overall.
In the 420 boys’ class, GBR sailors Allistair Gray and Alan McIntosh concluded their regatta in fourth, two points off the podium. 29er sailors Matt Venables and Will Alloway were unfortunate to carry three DNF’s due to gear failure when in good race positions, which ceased their charge of a place on the podium, and finished just outside the top 10 in 11th. Stephanie Orton and Vikki Payne finished 13th in the 29er event.
As well as battling for the European titles, sailors were also competing to win the series of new trophies generously donated by EUROSAF member countries. Amongst these was the prestigious Nations’ Cup - Team Trophy, which was awarded to Italy for the top competing nation, donated by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA). RYA Volvo Team GBR finished in second, two points behind the Italians.
Roy McCubbin, RYA Head Coach at the event, commented: “The EUROSAF Youth Sailing European Championship 2012 was a big success. It’s an excellent platform for our young developing sailors to work in a team environment. RYA Volvo Team GBR selected a younger team to allow sailors the opportunity to gain experience at international events.
“The competition was raced in predominantly strong winds and it is credit to our sailors to be able to perform in these conditions. The British windsurfers ended the event on a on a high with four medals in total, adding to the fantastic team environment which was evident in the GBR camp. Our 420 Transitional Squad sailors gained a lot from the regatta, although challenging conditions, the sailors have now gained a huge amount from the experience which they can take forward to future events.”
McCubbin concluded: “This regatta has been the perfect platform for the sailors to build confidence in working towards international events and has given them the chance to bond as a team. The good news is that EUROSAF are currently organising a 2013 event which will be in Tavira, Portugal, where we will look to build on the success and experience of the past two regattas of this kind.”
For more information and for full results from the EUROSAF Youth Sailing European Championship please visit the event website.