Off to Istanbul

420 winner at the RYA Volvo Youth National Championships, Mike Wood discusses his campaign with Hugh Brayshaw
The fates of Britain’s top youth sailors were decided last week at the RYA Volvo Youth National Championships, with their performances determining if they would be selected for the British squad destined to go to the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF Youth World Championships taking place in Istanbul in early July. Mike Wood (left) and Hugh Brayshaw While star of the show was RS:X sailor Izzy Hamilton, who is already the Youth World Champion in her class, also selected were 420 sailors Mike Wood and Hugh Brayshaw, who finished the Youth Nationals some 24 points ahead of the nearest male team. In fact it was the girls team of Joanna Mitchell and Hannah Freeman who were hot on Wood and Brayshaw’s heels, their score after discards being just ten adrift of the boys. Odd and yet refreshing, that in youth sailing boys and girls seem able to race on a more equal footing than adults. “Apart from the first day it has been light all week, high wiring and the girls are carrying 25kg less than us which is quite a big difference in the marginal planning-type stuff,” Mike Wood explained to us. “But they have been sailing very well as well.” The Nationals provided a range of conditions from the opening Monday when the gusts were up to 20 knots on the 420, Spitfire and Laser Standards course furthest offshore in Weymouth Bay, gradually lightening throughout the week. Now aged 18, Mike Wood at least is coming to the end of his tenure in the 420 – his crew Hugh Brayshaw is 16 - but this is coinciding nicely with their reaching the upper echelon of the class in the UK. Last week was Wood's fourth Youth Nationals, his results improving every year – from a 16th and then a 7th during his first two