Britain’s young sailors showed their strength at the 29er European Championships in Italy last week with a gold and silver medal-winning performance.
Held at Circolo Vela Arco, Great Britain’s youth racers also took home the Nations Trophy, the prize for the best performing nation, on the back of four top ten finishes in the 210-boat fleet.
Two-time Youth Worlds competitors Ewan Wilson and Finley Armstrong claimed gold in the boys’ fleet and in the overall competition standings followed by the British Sailing Team pairing of Freya Black and James Grummett in silver.
“Our goal was to medal in a major championships this summer,” said Armstrong, 17, from Torbay, Devon. “And after just missing out at Youth Worlds we really wanted to get on the podium here. Expectations wise we knew we were capable of doing it, we would just need to minimise the mistake count.”
Helm Wilson, 16, from Fife, Scotland, said: “We didn’t expect to do as well as we did. We wanted to medal but wasn’t expected to win. It feels amazing to have won. It hasn’t properly sunk in yet but it’s definitely a good feeling.”
Sailing in their first regatta together, Black and Grummett exceeded their own expectations and came back from a tough qualifying series to finish as the top mixed pair and with a silver medal in the overall competition.
“We knew we sailed well in qualifying just a few mistakes and breakages set us back. Going into finals we knew we had the ability to do well. We set new goals and kept improving and making the next right decisions,” said Black, 18, from Goudhurst, Kent.
“Coming into the event we didn’t really have any expectations,” said Grummett, 20, from Clitheroe, Lancashire. “Having not sailed together before we knew we had a lot to learn and prioritised that over focussing on a result. We knew we had the potential to do well but were definitely not expecting to medal.”
Oliver Evans and Will Jarman finished in ninth overall with Henry Jameson and Louis Johnson one place back in tenth showing the depth of the British 29er squad.