World Championship double for British Youth Sailing Team
by Lindsey Bell, RYA on 20 Dec 2016
14-20 December 2016
Great Britain's sailors have won double gold at the 2016 AON Youth Sailing World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand.
Windsurfer Emma Wilson wrapped up the RS:X Girls crown with a day to spare on Monday before Crispin Beaumont and Tom Darling sealed a dramatic victory in 29er Boys event on the final day of racing today (Tuesday 20 December).
The Youth Sailing World Championships, for the world's leading sailors aged 19 and under, is a proven talent indicator and past notable British Youth Worlds champions include Olympic gold medallists Ben Ainslie, Sarah Ayton and Giles Scott.
Christchurch's Wilson, who won silver at this event in 2015, admits she cannot believe her name is now etched in the record books alongside such British greats.
She said: "For Youth sailors this is the pinnacle and it is pretty cool to have won it with a race to spare. It is crazy to think about some of the people who have won this before. I can't begin to start thinking about myself as someone like them!
"I went into this event so determined. At the RS:X Worlds in Cyprus last month I was third all week and lost it in the medal race so I had so much determination not to let that happen again here. I just never gave up and never believed a race was over until it was and that determination is what has won me this. It doesn't feel real."
Meanwhile, it was a real nail-biter for Beaumont and Darling, who went into today's last race showdown four points behind Gwendal Nael and Lilian Mercier (FRA). The 18-year old pair already had 2016 29er class Worlds bronze and 2015 Europeans silver to their credit, but knew they had to keep a number of boats between themselves and the French to overcome the deficit to complete the medal set.
Beaumont and Darling crossed the finish line in third and were then left waiting to see where Nael and Mercier would finish to see if they had done enough for glory. With their French rivals eventually crossing in 10th, the British celebrations started.
Darling (Hayling Island) said: "This feels really good, it is pretty crazy. We have trained really hard for this and it has all come together in what it is our final event in the 29er together. We couldn't be happier."
Beaumont (Halesowen) added: "It is really nice to end our partnership winning the big one. It has been our goal for a few years. We have had really great coaching and it is a great feeling. I have been known to bottle it a few times on the last day! But today I kept my cool and just enjoyed the moment and that allowed us to perform."
More than 380 sailors from 65 nations have been doing battle across nine classes in Auckland. The five days of racing started on Friday. The performance of the whole British team in New Zealand ensured they finished the event second behind Italy in the overall Nations Trophy.
Hannah Bristow (Macclesfield) and Emily Covell (West Sussex) clinched an impressive top five finish on their Youth Worlds debut in the 29er Girls class, while fellow event first timers Robbie King (Streatham) and Marcus Tressler (Kettering) were seventh in the 420 Boys. There were also eighth place finishes for Daniel Whiteley (Bangor, N Wales) in the Laser Radial Boys and RS:X Boys windsurfer Andy Brown (Glasgow).
James Gray was the British Youth Sailing Team Leader in Auckland. He said: "I feel privileged to have been part of such a strong team. All sailors and coaches did an outstanding job in delivering two gold medals. There have been highs and lows throughout the team. The event, however, provides so many learning opportunities that will stand the sailors in good stead for the next phase of their sailing journey."
Mark Nicholls, RYA Youth Racing Manager, added: "It has been a really pleasing team performance, including awesome displays from the gold medallists. The Youth Worlds is a really special regatta and with the mix of experience and first-timers we had in this team there will be plenty of sailors that will get the chance to go again.
"While it was disappointing to miss out on the overall Nations Trophy by such a small margin on the last day, this has been the best team performance for a while so all the sailors can be really proud of what they have achieved in New Zealand and can look forward positively at what comes next."
Full Great Britain 2016 Youth World Sailing Championships results:
8th - Andy Brown (Largs SC)
1st - Emma Wilson (OTC/WPNSA)
13th - Chloe Barr (Stokes Bay SC)
8th - Daniel Whiteley (Pwllheli SC)
5th - Hannah Bristow and Emily Covell (Leigh & Lowton / HISC)
1st - Crispin Beaumont and Tom Darling (Bartley SC / HISC)
9th - Isabel Davies and Gemma Keers (Itchenor SC)
7th - Robbie King and Marcus Tressler (Warsash SC / Rutland SC)
10th - Jack Butters and James King (Parkstone)
You can see the full results on the Youth Worlds website, and follow the team on the British Youth Sailing Team Facebook and Twitter pages.