Up and coming Skandia Team GBR Development Squad sailors Rupert White and Nikki Boniface are the latest recipients of the Marlow Ropes Award, which will give them free rope for a year as they launch their campaign in the new Nacra 17 Olympic multihull class.

The Marlow Ropes Award was introduced in 2002 with the aim of rewarding Britain’s most promising young sailors for their determination, focus and talent.

White and Boniface, who competed together at youth level, winning ISAF Youth Worlds bronze and silver at the SL16 World Championships, were reunited when the chance arose with the new Olympic mixed multihull class. Both of the sailors have been inspired by their families to pursue catamaran sailing, with a history of sailing success spurring on White in particular.

“My granddad Reg White won a gold medal at the 1976 Games in the Tornado, so he’s been a huge influence on my sailing,” explained the 18-year-old who also claimed a World Championship double in the SL16 last year with Tom Britz, winning gold at the class World Championship before claiming another two weeks later at the ISAF Youth Worlds in Dublin Bay.  

Since re-forming their partnership, White and 19-year-old Boniface, along with other members of Skandia Team GBR, have been maximising their time on the water while they were waiting for the first delivery of the new Nacra 17s.  

“We’ve been training with the squad in Weymouth, using the Viper whilst we waited for the Nacras to arrive,” said Boniface.   

“It was a great platform to get started and we have had a solid few months over the winter to put together a lot of the groundwork to our campaign. There are lots of aspects that can be sorted while we wait for the new boat to arrive.”

Skandia Team GBR sailors received delivery of their first two Nacras early in January, which White and Boniface had the chance to sail during a team training camp in Murcia, Spain.

“It’s a pretty powered-up rig and we felt quite light when we first got out on it, so we ate a big dinner that night!” said White of his first Nacra experience.

“We’re not sure if we’ll need to gain any weight just yet, but for now we know we definitely don’t want to lose any. But the boats were really nice to look at, and we just want ours to arrive now!” he said, with the pair due to take delivery of their boat in early February.

The Marlow award entitles the pair to free Marlow rope for a year, which Boniface says will be invaluable as they launch themselves into the new Olympic cycle.

“Having the rope from Marlow will be fantastic. Putting in the amount of hours we’re planning over the coming year we’re going to go through some serious rope so it will be nice to know that as and when we need to we’ve got the Marlow Rope to use.”  

Barrie Edgington, Skandia Team GBR Development Squad Manager, commented: “Rupert and Nikki have a strong pedigree in multihull sailing and achieved great success together at youth level, so are definitely names to look out for in the years to come.   

“They have shown huge commitment to their new Olympic campaign and I know they can’t wait to get their hands on their new Nacra, which, with Marlow’s help, we’re pleased to give them a helping hand with to get set up and ready for the racing season.”  

Jonathan White, Marlow Ropes Marketing, added: “The new mixed multihull is a really exciting addition to the Olympic classes and we understand that there is significant cost to putting together an Olympic campaign, so it’s nice to see that Marlow can help Nikki and Rupert ensure that they have the best quality ropes for the job as the winners of the Marlow Ropes Award.”

As well as supporting up-and-coming sailors, Marlow Ropes is also the official supplier and exclusive team ropes partner to Skandia Team GBR thanks to its industry-renowned reputation for producing products tried, tested and trusted in the world’s harshest environments.

For the latest news and information from the Skandia Team GBR British Sailing Team visit www.skandiateamgbr.com or follow us on Twitter (@SkandiaTeamGBR).