Youth sailors bound for Croatia
The UK's finest young sailors are about to embark on the biggest couple of weeks of their sailing careers to date as they jet off to Zadar, Croatia to represent RYA Volvo Team GBR at the pinnacle event of the Youth sailing calendar - the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships 2011.
The Croatian Sailing Federation will host the 41st event at the Uskok Sailing Club in Zadar over 7-16 July. The event is seen by many as the ‘Youth Olympics’ for sailing, and has over the years identified talented sailors such as Olympic gold medallists Ben Ainslie, Sarah Ayton and Iain Percy.
The 12 members of RYA Volvo Team GBR all won their place on the team following some outstanding performances at the RYA Volvo Youth National Championships in April 2011, which was used as the selection event for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships.
The GBR team consists of a mixture of experience and youth with Nikki Boniface (SL16), leading the charge with two ISAF Youth Worlds under her belt. In total, seven of the under 19 sailors will be making their Youth Worlds debut, while the remaining five sailors are seen as Youth World ‘veterans’, having competed in last year’s event in Istanbul, Turkey.
Boniface (Eastbourne/Pevensey Bay Sailing Club), SL16 crew, commented: “It’s fantastic to be selected for the third year running and a massive honour to be representing my country at such a prestigious event. It’s always a privilege to be selected for Team GBR and I hope the experience which I have gained from the past two years will help me towards my goals this time around.”
The RYA Youth National Champions have all competed in an array of events whilst being involved in the RYA Youth Racing programme, including European and International regattas; however according to Laser Radial sailor, Cameron Douglas (Wirral/Wets Kirby Sailing Club) who also competed at last year’s regatta, the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships is like no other event.
“It’s a lot more team focused so it just brings a completely different aspect to things which is great. I’m really looking forward to bonding with the other sailors and enjoying the atmosphere within the team. Hopefully if everything runs to plan then the team can get a good result come the end of the regatta.”
For 2011 29er Youth World silver medallists, Henry Lloyd Williams (Royal Lymington Yacht Club) and Sam Batten (Royal Lymington Yacht Club) believe the conditions out in Zadar are crucial to their success this time around: “We are expecting middle wind strength with fairly flat seas. Depending on the wind direction, it could be quite shifty which we are more than happy with as we have sailed together for a very long time - hopefully it will play to our advantage.”
Just turned 16, Jade Rogers (Staffs/Carsington), RS: X 8.5, the youngest member of RYA Volvo Team GBR commented: “It’s going to be such a privilege as well as an honour to be representing my country out in Zadar. Hopefully I can put in a good performance and get as much experience out of the event for future regattas”
Meanwhile, 2010 veteran Sam Sills (Launceston/Roadford Lake), RS: X 8.5, said: “This time around I would like to put in more of a performance and look to improve on last year’s result. I hope to put in a consistent set of results with no letters and will definitely be trying my best to medal!”
Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, commented: “The ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most significant events on the Youth Sailing calendar, it is a different event as there are more nations than most other events, usually in the region of 65-70 nations, but the most unique part is that you have only got one representative per nation in each class just like at the Olympic Games. Hence all our sailors, irrespective of class are all part of the same RYA Volvo Team GBR which gives it a different feel and makes it extra special.”
“It is as unique opportunity for the sailors to get a more focused input from the support staff individually where usually they would go to an event and have maybe six sailors to one coach. The things that make this event special are the different experiences that it offers and the opportunities that it provides. That said it’s just an event, with the same processes and whether you win or lose you need to learn as much as you can from the experience and we’ll be going there to do just that as well as have hopefully have a great time and provide an experience which inspires the young sailors to aspire to follow in the footsteps of those within Skandia Team GBR.”
“This year we have got a nice blend of people who have gone before; five sailors have been to an ISAF Youth Worlds in the past and a number of guys who are up and coming, a bit younger and therefore can maybe go for a few more years. Irrespective they have all already excelled to win this years’ RYA Volvo Youth National Championships in very similar and challenging conditions. So we’ve got sailors at the very start of the journey to achieve internationally within their Youth careers and some sailors concluding their Youth careers hopefully moving onto an Olympic programme.”
“In terms of the competition all the big nations, all the leading nations and all the best young sailors in the world will be there so it will be a real test and a fantastic opportunity to see where our sailors are at versus the rest of the world,” concluded Truswell.
This year RYA Volvo Team GBR is being sponsored by Volvo Car UK and supported by the RYA Youth Programme clothing supplier Henri Lloyd at the event.
The official arrival day for sailors for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships is Thursday 7 July, with the first race of the Championships commencing on Saturday 9 July and the final race on Friday 15 July.
RYA Volvo Team GBR squad for the 2011 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, Zadar, Croatia (7-16 July 2011):
420: Boys: Craig Dibb (Andover & Warsash Sailing Club) and Charlie Cox (Lymington & Royal Lymington Yacht Club)
420 Girls: Jess Lavery (Emsworth & Emsworth Sailing Club) and Georgie Mothersele (Emsworth & Emsworth Sailing Club)
29er: Henry Lloyd-Williams (Lymington & Royal Lymington Yacht Club) and Sam Batten (Lymington & Royal Lymington Yacht Club)
RS:X: Boys: Sam Sills (Launceston & Roadford Lake)
RS:X Girls: Jade Rogers (Staffs & Carsington)
Laser Radial Boys: Cameron Douglas (Wirall & Wets Kirby Sailing Club)
Laser Radial Girls: Rheanna Pavey (Ipswich & Stour Sailing Club)
SL16: Rupert White (Brightlingsea & Brightlingsea Sailing Club) and Nicola Boniface (Eastbourne & Pevensey Bay Sailing Club)