Youth squad decided
As the 2010 RYA Volvo Youth National Championships came to a close on Friday after four days of racing in Weymouth and Portland, Skandia Team GBR’s Sarah Webb OBE, and her fellow RYA Youth selectors have decided the names of the 12 sailors who will make up 2010’s RYA Volvo Team GBR - the team set to compete for Great Britain in Istanbul, Turkey at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF Youth World Championships (8-17 July).
No fewer than nine of the selected sailors will be making their ISAF Youth Worlds debuts at the event whilst Youth Worlds ‘veteran’ windsurfer Izzy Hamilton will be making it a hat-trick having competed at last year’s Championships in Buzios, Brazil and in 2008 in Aarhus, Denmark. Adam Butler and Nikki Boniface will also be making a return to the event having competed in Brazil.
As the high performance 29er class makes a return to the championships, this time as the Open High Performance Dinghy, Lymington pair Henry Lloyd Williams and Sam Batten will do battle for Britain in the class.
Having sailed together for almost three years, the 16-year-olds will be making their Youth Worlds debut in Istanbul bringing to the team consistency and a cool head as their greatest strengths. Notable results this year for Lloyd Williams and Batten include winning Eurolymp at Weymouth, the UK leg of the 29er European tour.
Remaining the Two Person Dinghy class in 2010 for both boys and girls at the event, 420 crews Joanna Freeman/Hannah Mitchell and Mike Wood/Hugh Brayshaw will make up GBR’s contenders in the class.
Freeman from Poole and Mitchell, who heralds from Manchester, clearly have a great partnership in their pairing with the 18-year-old duo based at opposite ends of the country, but notching up great results; winning the 420 End of Season Championships in November at Grafham Water as well as the 420’s opening international selector event in Weymouth last month in the girls standings.
Leicester’s Wood and Coventry’s Brayshaw bring the same impressive results to RYA Volvo Team GBR having also won the End of Season Championships in Grafham and the 420 selector event in Weymouth, this time for the U19 boys. 16-year-old Brayshaw and 18-year-old Wood, have been sailing 420s together for two years and offer focus and a no-stone-unturned approach to their sailing as their greatest strengths.
In the Single Hander category Laser Radial sailors Cameron Douglas and Sophie McKeeman will be doing battle for the team in Turkey.
Wirral’s Douglas has proved his skill performing under pressure to gain his place on the team winning his Youth Nationals title by just two points last week having led the regatta for most of the week in an extremely tight fought competition. November saw the 16-year-old finish off last season winning the U19 title at the Inland National Championships. And since then Douglas has landed two more U19 podium spots, picking up a first followed by a third place at the opening two events of the World Championships qualifying series this month.
Gloucester girl Sophie McKeeman stayed focused and consistent fighting off tough competition from the UK’s top Radial sailors to land her Youth Nationals title last week. The 17-year-old has asserted her dominance this season over the national fleet having finished top U19 girl at the opening two events of the Radial World Championships qualifying series earlier this month.
Multihull pair Adam Butler and Nikki Boniface will be shifting their focus to the Sirena SL16 catamaran for this year’s event as the multihull class changes at the Youth Worlds from the Hobie 16, in which they competed last year. With experience of the event under their belts adding to their further honed greatest strengths, determination and an ability to thrive under pressure, 18-year-old Butler and 16-year-old Boniface will be well equipped to build on their fifth placing in Brazil. Proving their weight at the RYA Volvo Youth Nationals the duo racked up an almost unbeaten record to firmly secure their place on the team.
RYA Volvo Team GBR’s RS:X prospects are both hot this year each boasting World Titles; Holsworthy’s Izzy Hamilton holding the RS:X girls Youth World Champion crown and Launceston’s Sam Sills holding the U17 BIC Techno World Champion crown.
Securing his place on the team, 17-year-old Sills was racing his first major UK event on the RS:X youth class board at the Youth Nationals and fought off huge competition from the defending champion and other top RYA Volvo National Youth Squad windsurfers to clinch the spot. Sills has dominated the Techno junior windsurfing scene winning the World, European and National Crowns last year proving his self proclaimed greatest strength; a performer in all conditions.
Rounding up a formidable team in RYA Volvo Team GBR, Hamilton who made it a hat trick in 2010, by winning the Youth Nationals again and securing her place on the ISAF Youth Worlds team for the third successive year. Izzy brings the most experience of the event to the team and will no doubt show her teammates the way in Istanbul. As well as scooping the class Youth World title last year the 17-year-old was also invited to join Skandia Team GBR’s Development Squad, training alongside Olympic Bronze medallist Bryony Shaw. Having notched up a great year of events since Brazil and taken her training to the next level, Hamilton will have her gaze firmly set on gold in Turkey to go one better than her silver won in Brazil, 2009.
Once again RYA Volvo Team GBR will be supported by Musto, and from here the sailors will all undertake a comprehensive training and international competition programme around their academic commitments to ensure they are best prepared for the event.
Ben Oakley, Chairman of Youth Selectors, said: “It’s been a great mix of conditions at the Youth Nationals this week and that range has been really good to assist us in selecting the team. Istanbul is reputed to be quite a light winds venue but you never quite know what you will get, so it is useful that we have seen the competitors race in all conditions, in most cases pushed really hard by their peers which has helped show us how they will cope with the demands of the regatta and allowed the best sailors to emerge at the top of the fleets.”
Sarah Webb OBE added: “Having watched the racing this week the team look strong in all conditions; we’ve managed to watch them in everything. I think we have a strong team across the board and hopefully we’ll come back with some medals."