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GBR sailing youngsters ready to take on world's best in Oman

by Will Carson, RYA 10 Dec 2021 11:07 GMT
Sailors ready to represent Great Britain at the Youth Sailing World Championships © RYA

Sixteen of the country's most promising young sailors are ready to take on the world's best when they represent Great Britain at the Youth Sailing World Championships. The talented youngsters, all aged 18 or under, will represent the British Youth Sailing (BYS) Team at the 50th edition of the prestigious regatta being held in Mussanah, Oman, from 11-18 December. ?

Competing in the 29er, 420, Nacra 15, ILCA 6, Techno293+ and Formula Kite classes, the sailors gained selection to the team for their performances at the 2021 RYA Youth National Championships.

The Youth Worlds returns after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and follows the Olympic pathway more closely with the addition of the kiteboarding.

Previous Youth Worlds participants include some of today's best-known sailors including the world's most decorated Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie. Three of the 2019 team, Finn Hawkins, Freya Black and Matilda Nicholls, have also made the progression into the full British Sailing Team.

Of the sixteen selected sailors, all but one will make their Youth Worlds debut. Jasmine Williams (Restronguet SC) is the sole returnee taking on the Nacra 15, this time teaming up with crew Alfie Cogger (Coniston SC).

At 16, ILCA 6 sailor Sam Dickinson (HISC) is the youngest member of the team but has experience around him with 18-year-old Coco Barrett (Island Barn Reservoir SC) and seasoned ILCA coach James Hadden.

Barrett said: "I'm expecting it to be a fairly challenging but fun regatta. From what we saw of the ILCA 6 Worlds last week [in Oman], the breeze can be very light and shifty, so it's going to be important to keep consistent.

"Sam and I have been working a lot with our coach this winter, so we'll both be looking to replicate the gains we've made in training.

"Having not been able to compete at any of the U19 international events in the last two years due to Covid, it's really awesome to have one last opportunity before I age out. I'm really looking forward to meeting new people and experiencing the international atmosphere, and it's always nice to sail somewhere hot midwinter."

Taking on the new addition of the Formula Kite is Adam Farrington (Bournemouth & Poole Kitesurfing Club) and Ella Geiger from West Sussex.

18-year-old Farrington (pictured above) said: "I'm expecting some high quality super-fast racing. I've not been able to compete internationally this year, but I've been training really hard and am hoping for a top five position. Nobody really knows who's going or how good they are, so anything could happen.

"I'm also really excited to be representing GB sailing for the first time, and the warm weather will be a bonus."

Continuing the theme of hot weather, girl's Techno293+ representative Lucy Kenyon (pictured below), 17, said: "I'm really excited for the Youth Worlds in Oman. The venue looks amazing and I'm very happy to be leaving the UK winter weather behind.

"We've worked really hard so I can't wait to get out there on the start line and do my best. I have to also say a big thank you for all the support and everyone that has made it possible."

Kenyon has been one of the few sailors to get some international racing in when she stepped up to the senior ranks for the iQFOiL Euros in Marseille last month.

"It was really great to race with the senior girls and I gained loads of knowledge and had an awesome time. It will definitely help in Oman having practised some bigger fleet racing again and by running through race day practices in Marseille ready for the Youth Worlds."

Kenyon is joined by Parkstone YC teammate, 16-year-old Boris Shaw, who takes the start line in the boy's Techno293+.

Cardiff Bay YC is represented by Jamie Cook and Will Martin in the boy's 420 with Julia Staite (HISC) and Bettine Harris (Bristol Corinthian YC) competing in the girl's fleet.

HISC also has representation in the girl's 29er where Emily Mueller and Florence Brellisford will be in action while Leo Wilkinson (Maidenhead SC / DWSC) and Sam Jones (Hill Head SC) take on the boy's 29ers.

BYS Youth Worlds Team Lead, Sam Ross, said: "With so much uncertainty at the moment it's with great excitement and relief we have the team on the plane and are heading out to the Youth Worlds.

"It's great to see the team already coming together and excited for the event. We have a great range of experience within the sailing and coaching team and we can't wait to take on the challenges that this quite unique event presents.

"It will also be the first time we've seen the Kites be involved at this level so great to see events coming even more into line with Paris 2024 and beyond."

Racing begins on 13 December and you can follow the progress across British Youth Sailing social media and on the Youth Worlds website at https://worldsailingywc.org/

2021 Youth Sailing World Championships team:

420 girls: Julia STAITE, 18, Hayling Island, HISC, and Bettine HARRIS, 18, Somerset, Bristol Corinthian YC

420 boys: Jamie COOK, 17, and Will MARTIN, 18, Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff Bay YC

29er girls: Emily MUELLER, 18, Surrey, HISC, and Florence BRELLISFORD, 18, Essex, HISC

29er boys: Leo WILKINSON, 17, High Wycombe, Maidenhead SC / DWSC, and Sam JONES, 18, Hampshire, Hill Head SC

Nacra 15: Jasmine WILLIAMS, 17, Cornwall, Restronguet SC, and Alfie COGGER, 18, Cumbria, Coniston SC

Kite foiling girls: Ella GEIGER, 16, West Sussex

Kite foiling boys: Adam FARRINGTON, 18, Ferndown, Bournemouth & Poole Kitesurfing Club

ILCA6 Men: Sam DICKINSON, 16, Hayling Island, HISC

ILCA6: Coco BARRETT, 18, Surrey, Island Barn Reservoir SC

Techno293+ girls: Lucy KENYON, 17, Poole, Parkstone YC

Techno293+ boys: Boris SHAW, 16, Poole, Parkstone YC

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