Success for British windsurfers
Sam Sills, 16, romped to glory in the Bic Techno Under 17 boys’ division while 14-year-old Kieran Martin and Sam’s sister Saskia Sills, 13, ensured Britain enjoyed a golden whitewash in the Under 15s’, taking the top prize in both the boys’ and girls’ events at the RYA Events-run Championships at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing.
There was further medal joy for the host nation as no fewer than four other sailors secured podium positions - Saskia’s twin Imogen took Under 15 girls’ silver following a ding-dong battle with her sister for the crown all week while Ali Masters (Raceboard Youth), Adam Purcell (Under 15 boys) and Barrie Edgington (Raceboard Masters) all claimed bronze medals.
Across the other four classes France, Italy, Spain and Greece all notched one title apiece as Veronica Fanciulli’s (ITA) dominance of the Under 17 girls’ fleet was transformed into a gold medal today, Benoit Bigot flew the flag for France at the top of the Raceboard Youth fleet - as four French sailors finished inside the top five - and Gonzalez Ruiz (ESP) clinched the Techno Open title.
In the Raceboard Masters, a fascinating contest came to a thrilling conclusion as 1996 Olympic champion Nikos Kaklamanakis (GRE) nipped ahead of Portugal’s fellow five-time Olympian Joao Rodrigues at the death to claim gold.
Opting to sail the RS:X board for the event, Kaklamanakis revelled in the heavier breezes witnessed at WPNSA this week and dominated the class from day two having decided not to sail in the lighter airs on day one.
However, although Kaklamanakis did not have it all his own way on the final day - as moderate breezes of 14-17 knots allowed the non-RS:X Raceboard sailors to make more of an impact - the Greek stole in to claim the crown from Rodrigues’ clutches as the advent of the second discard in the 11th and final race enabled Kaklamanakis to discard his last remaining Did Not Compete (DNC) score from day one giving him a final score of 12 points to Rodrigues’ 15.
For Sam Sills, the 2009 Techno Under 17 title is his second World crown, Sills having won Techno Under 15 gold in 2007. Sills was also crowned 2009 Techno Under 17 European Champion in Lacanau, France in April.
He was the standout act in the fleet, leading from day two and picking up no fewer than eight race wins in his 11-race series as Mateo Sanz Lanz (ESP) wins silver and Louis Giard (FRA) bronze. However the laidback Brit insists victory wasn’t as easy as it looked.
He said “It was a really tough competition the fleet was double the size of the Europeans and the standard’s been really high. I’ve been really pleased with my speed this week and have managed to stay consistent and with safe starts. I didn’t want any letter scores.
“I really wanted to nail this event with it being my last on the Techno and in Britain. People may have expected me to do well but I try not to let that pressure bother me and I actually tend to do better when the pressure’s on a bit. The whole British team has performed and made a big statement here so I am really pleased.”
Kieran Martin is another 2009 World and European Champion - he enjoyed a close battle with Albert Chaillot (FRA) during the early exchanges of the week but after taking a six-point lead into the last day, Martin’s final day scores confirmed victory with Chaillot second and Martin’s RYA Team GBR teammate Adam Purcell putting on a great show for bronze.
The Sills twins, also both medallists at the Europeans, swapped the lead over the course of the regatta before a nailbiting final race climax saw Saskia snatch the gold ahead of her sister.
Veronica Fanciulli was also untouchable from day two and the 2009 European silver medallist made no mistake taking gold this time out enjoying a 14-point final advantage over Clidane Humeau (FRA) in second with Hadas Zaga (ISR) in third.
Olivier Pinlou claimed Raceboard Youth silver sandwiched between Benoit Bigot, who leapfrogged his friend into pole position on the last race, and Ali Masters while Sara Martel and David Valliverdu ensured it was a medal cleansweep for Spain in the Techno Open.
A record 350 sailors, from 27 countries, have been in action at WPNSA since Monday with event debuts being made by nations such as the USA, Canada, Turkey, Singapore, Argentina and Peru.
The IWA Junior, Youth and Masters Worlds were the first of three back-to-back World Class events run by the RYA, supported by UK Sport, hosted at WPNSA over the next month with the RS:X World Championships taking place next week and the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta from 14-19 September.