Rising talent Daniel Whiteley held composure to take under-21 Laser World Championship bronze in Nieuwpoort, Belgium this week (28 July – 2 August).
The British Sailing Team Podium Potential Pathway sailor showed his intentions on day one taking a bullet and two sixths to leave put him firmly in the mix.
A further bullet and a string of top-10 results saw the 19-year-old hold his nerve to finish the event third in the 102-strong fleet.
Having only transitioned from the Radial earlier this year, the Bangor sailor who won the RYA Youth Nationals in April, and was thrilled at a strong international performance in the Olympic Laser class.
“It feels really good, although it wasn’t something I was expecting. I’ve had quite a hard build-up moving out of the Radial only six months ago, so to medal shows the hard work has paid off!
“We had such a big mix of conditions and some really strong tide, so the biggest challenge was to get off the startline clear. The shifts were hard and it was tricky to get to the front of the fleet, but somehow
I managed to do a decent job all week and finished pretty well."
Revelling in the midweek stronger breeze gave Whiteley a confidence boost to carry forward to the business end of the event.
“I really enjoyed the really windy third day. Previously I haven’t been that strong as I’ve been quite light, but I turned out to be quick so it was a real highlight managing to get around the course fast, scoring a 3, 1,” explained the Welsh sailor.
Podium Potential Pathway teammates and rivals Jack Cookson and Sam Whaley followed Whiteley’s form, both securing a race win, to place fourth and fifth respectively.
Coach James Gray commented on Whiteley excellent performance: “He was the most consistent sailors upwind and this gave him the best chance of posting good scores. Joel Rodriguez Perez (ESP) and Jonatan Vadnai (HUN) were very strong as we have seen over the past few years and thoroughly deserved to be taking the top two spots, just being that little bit better over the race course.
“Most impressively for me has been Dan's ability to turn around a relatively slow start to the season earlier this year. He has incredible self-belief and his hard work in the last few months really paid off.
“We also had very strong squad performances from Sam Whaley and Jack Cookson, whom along with Dan have pushed themselves as a group to a higher level. I am immensely proud of the squad’s achievements.”
The trio will now turn their focus to the Laser Worlds in Split, Croatia in September as they look to test their mettle against the senior fleet.
The under-21 Laser Radial World Championship was staged concurrently in Nieuwpoort, with British Sailing Team’s Clementine Thompson finishing 12th.
For full Laser u21 World Championship results, visit http://kycnlaserworlds2017.com/u-21-laser-radial-standard-noticeboard
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