Fifteen of the nation’s top young sailing talents are preparing to fly the flag for Great Britain at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Búzios, Brazil (8-15 December 2023).
The squad will be part of the 400 competitor global event, and will represent the British Youth Sailing Team across the 29er, 420, Nacra 15, ILCA 6, iQFOiL and Formula Kite classes. Some athletes are making their Youth Worlds debuts while others are representing their nation for the third time at the event.
Ella Geiger has the most Youth Worlds experience among the team, having competed at the 2021 and 2022 editions previously. Balancing school, gym sessions, and on-water training, she revealed: “I am feeling pretty good in the run up”. However, she is keeping an eye on the competition and looking forward tstyle="width:100%;"o some close on-water-battles.
From in Herne Bay, Kent, 18-year-old Formula Kite rider Mattia Maini stated: “I feel a sense of anticipation knowing that I'll be competing against some of the world's best sailors.” He is aiming for a top five performance by learning from every moment on the water.
17-year-old iQFOil windsurfer Darcey Shaw from Poole Harbour Yacht Club is thrilled about the upcoming challenge in Brazil. Having focused on intensive training both on the water and in the gym. She said: "I'm proud and excited to represent the team at the Worlds. It’s going to be a great opportunity to see how I have improved."
Brother of Darcey and also iQFOil windsurfer Boris Shaw, aged 18 is elated to secure a spot on the team. Boris shared: "It’s great to be selected for the team and the Worlds event. I have been working on my physical fitness to help with pumping and on my on upwind speed to get the extra knots out there!”
Competing in the ILCA 6 class at the age of 18, Jack Graham-Troll from Royal Lymington Yacht Club is eager for his first Youth Sailing World Championship. Taking lessons and from past experiences Jack reflected: “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am making the most of what I have been given, making sure that I do as much preparation as I can to get to the moment”.
Regrettably, Carys Attwell will be unable to participate in the female ILCA 6 Class due to injury. The team sends its very best wishes to her for a speedy recovery.
British representatives in the Nacra 15 class are the 18-year-olds Sophie Raven from Exe Sailing Club and Sam Cox from Restronguet Sailing Club, Cornwall. Their preparation is aimed at competing effectively against tough opponents. Sophie said: “It’s an honour that we are able to represent our country at such a big event. I am really excited to go against the best in the world!”
Charlie Gran from Hayling Island Sailing Club and Sam Webb from Royal Lymington Yacht Club are competing in the 29er class. Charlie stated: “It is a great experience to get selected for the team and for the Worlds. It’s a youth version of the Olympics which is my goal so it’s one step closer to preparing to get there.”
29er Sailors Madeline Bilbrough and Annabelle Vines are 17-year-olds from Hayling Island Sailing Club and Royal Lymington Yacht Club respectively. Their focused training has been on starts and wave techniques. Annabelle said: “I am excited; we have been putting the work in. There is strong competition, but the podium is our goal.”
420 sailors Noa Moskovitch from Royal Lymington Yacht Club and Gabriella Burlton from Royal Southern Yacht Club are both 17. They have been undertaking a year-long preparation ahead of the event. Gabriella explained: “We are really proud and excited for the World Championships, but it all comes down to the training!"
Finally, in the 420 male event, the 18-year-old team Henry Heathcote and Oscar Cawthorne hail from Royal Lymington Yacht Club and Shustoke Sailing Club. Oscar said: “We are feeling pretty decent about the run up to event, putting in training when we are not in school or uni. We are just grinding really hard and hoping to come back with medals!”
RYA Youth Racing Manager, Oli Woodcock said: “Whether it’s a sailor’s first time or their third, the Youth Sailing World Championships is a fantastic experience and opportunity to learn and compete against the world’s best young talents in a mini Olympic-style environment.
“The team is ready and raring to go and looking forward to the challenge. I’ve no doubt they will soak up all the experience they can and give it everything on the racecourse.”