Photo: Alfie Wisdom

Double World gold for RYA Mirror National Junior Squad

British youth sailors return home laden

Tuesday January 11th 2011, Author: Ellie Williamson, Location: none selected

Lulham-Robinson brothers, Ben and Matt, and Grayson sisters, Emma and Rachael, added more weight to Britain’s sporting success down under this weekend when the young RYA Mirror National Junior Squad sailors were crowned Junior open and Junior girls World Champions at the 2011 Mirror World Championships held in Albany, Australia last week.

Battling choppy seas and exhausting solid 20-25 knot winds most of the week, the two crews kept it consistent over the 15 races to rise above their junior competition amplifying their success further by beating an impressive number of senior sailors at the event.

Current European Champions, 13-year-old helm Matt and 12-year old crew Ben, finished the event in tenth place overall amidst a 61 strong fleet adding the Junior open World title to their expanding trophy cupboard proving their World class talent in emphatic style.

Ben commented: “It feels great. We are really pleased with the result and very happy. We had to work really hard in the wind and it was really tiring doing that all day. The sea was really choppy too but it was great fun surfing down the waves and our open sea training really helped us out with that.”

Having already won the European title the Ilkley based pair were confident they had the ability to come away with a medal but they were not expecting to come away with gold so early in their careers.

Matt added: “We were hoping to get a medal and we’re just really happy it was gold in the end. It was pretty difficult and we’ve learnt loads this week - that’s what we want to carry on doing so when we go into the youth classes we’ll have that experience with us to build on.”

Emma,14 and 12-year-old crew Rachael also Junior European Mirror Champions ranked highly amongst the senior dominated fleet too, the West Yorkshire Beaver Sailing Club duo finishing fourth overall in the Ladies fleet securing the Junior Ladies World Title in impressive form.

Rachael commented: “We were kind of hoping to be first juniors overall but it was really good to be first junior ladies. At the Europeans there weren’t so many sailors and they weren’t from so many countries but this was the best sailors from all over the World so it’s really good to have got this result.”

“Being pond sailors at our club the wind and chop was quite tough to deal with but there wasn’t much tide there which was good for us - we sail better when there’s not tide. We struggled a bit with consistency though, we had some good races and some bad ones. The heavy stuff was quite hard for us to keep up with and the boys were able to keep up with it a bit better.”

Adding to the RYA’s success at the Mirror Worlds and also to RYA Volvo National Youth Squad sailors Annabel Vose and Megan Brickwood’s golden success at the 420 Worlds last week, 29er Youth Squad pair Henry Lloyd Williams and Sam Batten sealed up a fantastic start to 2011 for the RYA’s squad sailors.

Lymington Town Sailing Club’s 29er National Champions picked up a youth silver medal at the 29er World Championships, which came to a close on Saturday (8, January) in Mar Del Plata, Argentina, kick starting what they hope will be a fruitful year.

Lloyd Williams commented: “It’s a real confidence booster for us getting this result – we can definitely put it into our bank of good results we’ve got. The experience has also given us a lot to work on going forward for the year and hopefully going to the ISAF Youth Worlds again. It’s highlighted a load of training points for us we want to work on leading up to that.”

He continued: “We had quite a few problems to overcome with our boat when we got here setting it up right but we managed to put out a good performance so we’re very happy with how we did.”

“We had over 15 knots of wind five out of the six days too but it was more the swell that gave us the most significant challenge - we had over 10 foot of swell one day and in a 29er that was pretty scary!”

The 60 strong fleet at the event was dominated by senior level competitors however the 18-year-old duo managed to finished the event in a highly respectable 13th place overall.

Batten added: “They don’t really sail 49ers out here because the conditions are too extreme so a lot of adults sail 29ers instead. As a result a lot of the people we were up against had been sailing a lot longer than we have so they are all pretty quick and probably more knowledgeable tactically than us. We just focused on what we needed to do and it came together pretty well really.”

RYA Youth Racing Manager Duncan Truswell added his congratulations: “We’ve started this year off with some tough competition and an ambitious programme. The RYA, the classes, and the parents have invested a lot of resources to support the teams representing GBR all over the world, and we have all been avidly watching the results roll in.”

“It’s been an exciting start to the year and I am particularly passionate that our teams are learning a lot, having fun and are committed to a future in our fantastic sport. Seeing them coming away with some really great results is a cracking bonus!”

He continued: “The sailors have sacrificed a lot and worked really hard on boat handling, fitness, and communication as well as preparing their equipment and working to deliver against long term plans. It is great to start to see them reap some really impressive results from their hard work.”

“This I’m sure will set our junior and youth squad sailors off with a really positive mind set for the season ahead - I look forward to what the rest of the year brings with it!”

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