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SL16 World Championship at Cercle de la Voile du Pyla sur Mer

by Matt Carter, RYA 5 Jul 2013 20:17 BST 30 June - 5 July 2013
James Henson and Olivier Greber at the SL16 World Championships © Marc Turner / RYA

RYA National Youth Squad sailors James Henson and Olivier Greber have today (Friday 5 July) clinched a silver medal at the 2013 SL16 World Championships which came to a close at the Cercle de la Voile du Pyla sur Mer, France.

Henson, 18 from Spetisbury, Dorset and his crew Greber, 17 from Eastbourne, who will represent RYA Volvo Team GBR at the 2013 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Limmassol, Cyprus, also bagged the U19 SL16 World title after finishing second behind the French boat of Tristan and Corentin Trebaol.

Henson and Greber had a nervy start to their World Championships posting a 14th on the opening day of the regatta (Tuesday 2 July) in what were some shifty and challenging conditions, however soon settled their nerves adding top five finishes to their scorecard for the remainder of the regatta.

The RYA Volvo Team GBR representatives entered today's final race deciders in second position, seven points behind first and 15 points in front of third with it all to play for, yet were unable to topple the overnight leaders from France posting two discards to sit them second overall.

"Were really, really happy with the silver medal after such a tough week of racing out in France" expressed the SL16 helm Henson.

"It's been a really big fleet this year with 45 boats compared to last year's World Championships where we only had 35 so that has made it a lot more competitive and a great week of racing and were really happy to walk away with second place."

Greber, from Pevensey Bay Sailing Club, added: "The opening day of the regatta didn't start as well as what we would have liked. The breeze was up and down and we waited until about 3pm to get the one race in where we finished 14th. The second day was a lot better, we had four races in some good breeze where we managed to secure some top five places which put us in good stead for the rest of the regatta."

"The final two days of the regatta were the most trickiest with the breeze not filling in until the afternoon. Heading into today's final races our aim was definitely gold as we were only seven points behind the French but the conditions were some of the hardest we have raced in, with some offshore breezes which made it shifty and gusty with things not falling our way unfortunately."

The SL16 French boat finished their home World Championships in fine form and clinched gold in true fashion, with Greber giving praise to Tristan and Corentin Trebaol.

"Tristan and Corentin have been up at the top for the past three years - they won it last time it was at this venue two years ago and finished second to Rupert and Tom in 2012 so have provided really touch competition all week. Although, they are actually a year older than us so it's also pretty cool to say that were the U19 World Champions!" said the 17-year-olrd Greber from The Sussex Downs College, East Sussex.

The bronze medal went to Solune Robert and Riwan Perron from France who will be competing against Henson and Greber at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Limmassol, Cyprus when racing begins on Monday 15 July, and although the GBR sailors lost out on the top spot at this event, Greber is happy that they finished in front of their ISAF Youth World opponents.

"It's a great confidence boost for definite beating all the other boats who we will be competing against at the ISAF Youth Worlds. The Kiwi boat had a good week and seem to be improving very fast so they maybe someone to watch out for in Cyprus, but we are definitely happy with where we are at now."

The GBR duo will now head over to Limmassol, Cyprus next Friday (19 July) with their fellow RYA Volvo Team GBR Squad members to begin preparations for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships which kick off on Monday 15 July.

Henson, a member of Weston Sailing Club, concluded: "We have a few things to work on, today our starts weren't great so I think our consistency can be improved, but this week has been good for us and were now very confident heading to Cyprus with the aim of bringing back a medal –hopefully gold!"

For more information on the 2013 SL16 World Championship and for full results visit the event website.

For details regarding the RYA Youth Racing programme or for further details on future regattas, please visit the Youth pages of the RYA Website.

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