Sarahs find bowgirl
Ayton and Webb’s search for a world class sailor to fill the spot on the bow left vacant by Victoria Rawlinson has resulted in 470 sailor Pippa Wilson making the transition to the women’s Olympic keelboat in a bid for Olympic glory in two years’ time.
The 20-year-old Wilson is an accomplished double-handed sailor, winning gold and bronze medals in both the 29er and 420 at the Youth World Championship in 2002 and 2004, and coming fifth at the 470 Worlds in San Francisco last year.
Although the switch to the Yngling represents a marked change of both boat and position – Wilson was previously a helm – the Lymington sailor is ready for the change and is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“It is a great opportunity for me to work alongside the girls and we are all really excited about the challenge ahead,” enthused Wilson. “I felt that I needed a change from my 470 helming and this position for me, although very different, is just what I need to up my game and hopefully I can bring my experiences to moving our team forward to being number one in the world.”
The Ayton-Webb-Wilson trio will race together for the first time at this weekend’s Skandia RYA Sail for Gold Regatta, which runs from Friday through until Sunday (13-15 October).
Ayton and Webb’s world number two position caps off a successful season for the Skandia Team GBR sailors, who secured podium positions at the Miami, Princess Sofia, Hyeres and Holland Regattas with a variety of teammates on the bow.
The Yngling girls are excited to have Wilson joining their Mirabaud-sponsored campaign trail and have a busy winter schedule of training planned to ensure they’re in the best possible shape ready for the 2007 season – a vital one in the selection process for the 2008 Games.
“When Sarah and I sat down after Athens and planned our Yngling campaign, Pippa was the first on our list of potential bows,” Webb explained.
“It has taken us two years to convince her to join us and we are thrilled she has decided it’s the right move for her. We know she will bring a great deal to our team and we are really excited to get going.”