RYA UK Youth Squad sailors Annabel Cattermole and Bryony Bennett-Lloyd have turned their summer into a golden one by securing themselves the Ladies' World title in Valencia, Spain as the 420 World Championships came to close today (Tuesday 30 July).
Cattermole,17, from St Albans, and her crew Bennett-Lloyd, 18, from Norwich, who recently finished 12th at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Cyprus, had a modest start to their World Championships harbouring a top ten position at the halfway stage of the regatta.
After three days of the racing at the Real Club Náutico Valencia the fleets were split, with the best sailors pooled together in the gold fleet which is when the GBR sailors came into their own. Revelling in the increase of breeze of 22 knots on day four of the regatta, consistency was the key for the GBR duo posting scores of 2-4 to take over the top of the leaderboard which was held since day one by Carlotta Omari/Francesca Russo Cirillo of Italy.
Heading into the final two races of the regatta today (Tuesday 30 July) with a 12 point cushion over their nearest rivals from Italy, Cattermole and Bennett-Lloyd, who managed to offset a lacklustre result of 27th in the first race with a race win in the second on the penultimate day yesterday, sealed the world title with a fourth place finish in the final race of the Championship.
"It feels incredible, I don't think it has quite sunk in yet but I think it will get there eventually - it just doesn't feel quite real that we have actually won and are World Champions," expressed Cattermole.
"Going into the final race of the regatta we knew we needed a top ten to win and a top 20 to finish on the podium, so we entered the race like we have done all the other races, try to sail like we have been doing and do what we have been doing. We got a clear start which was good and had a good run up the first beat with lots of clean air with options to do what we wanted and to sail as quick as we wanted," explained the Welwyn Garden City Sailing Club 420 sailor.
"We rounded the first mark in first and were winning all the way round until the last run. We dropped back a few into fourth but crossed the finish line knowing we had done enough!"
"The conditions have been really nice and really varied, today we had some nice light winds whereas other days we have had some strong breeze which we really enjoy. The key I think has definitely been our consistency, we ended day one in ninth, then moved to sixth, then fifth and then maintained our position at the top so I think that has been really important, as well as our boat speed which has been good all week and allowed us to control the fleet at times and sail at the top which is what we wanted."
Coming into the regatta of the back of the ISAF Youth Worlds in Cyprus where they finished 12th, the RYA Volvo Team GBR representatives were confident that a podium finish was achievable and were chomping at the bit to get back out racing again.
"Competing at the ISAF Youth Worlds in Cyprus definitely helped us - it made us more race sharp than some of the other competitors for sure. I know that a few sailors came into this event slightly tired from Cyprus whereas we came in ready to race," continued Cattermole.
Hickling Broad Sailing Club's Bennett-Lloyd added: "Coming into the event we weren't too sure what our aims were. We were hoping that one of the regattas this summer would have our names on it though so obviously we have taken this one and have now got the Junior Euros in two weeks so we will see how that goes."
"This event is a different sort of event to the ISAF Youth Worlds. There are a lot more 420 sailors who you compete against with the standard still extremely high and the age limit higher at this event. Both events are great in their own way although the ISAFs was such a great experience and we certainly learned a huge amount out in Cyprus which we took forwards into this event."
Next up for Bennett-Lloyd is the 470 World Championships in La Rochelle where she will pairing up with Anna Burnet after a cycling injury to her usual sailing partner Flora Stewart.
"Next up for me I'm off to La Rochelle for the 470 Worlds. I've never sailed a 470 before but I'm really looking forward to it, I'm a little nervous but I'm sure it's going to be a great experience and I can't wait to get out there and learn all I can from Anna [Burnet]."
Meanwhile in the 420 Open fleet, Josh Voller and Scott Wallis were the highest placed GBR crew. The Hampshire-based duo posted some impressive scores including two race wins, however paid the price for their inconsistency across the 12 race series leaving them in 26th overall.
Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, added: "I am delighted that the girls have managed to secure the World Championship win, we suspected they were capable after a dominant performance at the Youth National Championships where they so nearly saw off the boys to take the overall title but at the ISAF's it did not quite come together for them.
"Cyprus was tough, very hot, challenging conditions and doing such a high profile major championship in the context of just finishing school and being focused so much on achieving their academic goals rather than spending too much time training it was inevitably difficult and they were a little frustrated not to have done better. But they were keen to make amends and sailed well this week and I know they will be delighted to have achieved the result, as will their families and their coaches Neil (Marsden) and Johnny (McGovern). I am really looking forward to seeing how the whole British team fare on home soil in Pwllheli for the Junior Europeans in a few weeks' time."
For more information on the event and for full results visit the 420 World Championship event website.