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Yachting NZ add Nacra 15 crew to 2022 Youth Worlds team

by Michael Brown/Yachting NZ 13 Apr 07:14 BST 13 April 2022
Helena Sanderson and Cam McGlashan have been added to the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team © Yachting NZ

Helena Sanderson feels a lot older and wiser than when she first competed at the youth sailing world championships and thinks that will be crucial when she competes at this year's event.

The 17-year-old has been added along with Cam McGlashan to the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team and the pair will compete in the Nacra 15 class at July's youth worlds at The Hague.

There weren't enough entries to run a Nacra 15 fleet at February's Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta, which was used as the selection event for the youth team, so Yachting New Zealand called for applications to put together a combination in the catamaran.

Sanderson and McGlashan caught the eye of the selectors, especially given their experience. McGlashan would have competed at the 2020 youth worlds in the boy's 420 before the event was cancelled due to Covid and has also excelled in the boy's 29er.

But Sanderson's credentials are even more impressive. She was sixth with Jack Honey at the 2019 youth worlds in Poland and also competed in both the 2019 and 2020 Nacra 17 world championships when still a high school student.

"I have done a lot since the last youth worlds," she said. " I luckily got those two Nacra 17 world championships in before the world turned upside down and I loved sailing in those.

"It strengthened my skills, so it's a lot easier going back to a Nacra 15. Sailing the boat isn't the biggest issue any more so you can get stuck into some great racing and keep your head out of the boat. I also got to experience what it's like to sail in the Olympic classes and what life after youth sailing feels like."

Sanderson and McGlashan have been trying to make up for lost time and have spent plenty of hours on the water together since being called up to the team.

Their selection brings the size of the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team to 15 and they were all presented with their racing bibs at a function recently attended by family, friends and sponsors.

The youth sailing world championships is the pinnacle event for youth sailors, with only one entry in each class from each country, but it's also an event like no other. The boys and girls from the same country share the boats in both the double-handed classes and ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) and coaches are restricted to a large stationary boat on the water.

"It's a unique event like that because you're pretty much on your own," Sanderson said. "Having good foundations within the team will be crucial for having a good regatta.

"My first youth worlds was quite a hectic event. It was our first time racing overseas and even then we felt the pressure of the youth worlds. Being so young, we probably succumbed to that a little bit and got wrapped up in what the results could become. Coming back a little bit older, I think we can put a bit more perspective on it.

"We are a new combination and trying to piece it together a couple of months before the event is tricky but we each bring unique strengths to the team. The first sailing sessions have been great. It's been a couple of years since I've sailed the boat but I'm not lacking time in the boat previously. I think it's just learning to click as a team and drawing on each other's strengths. Everything follows after that."

A series of training camps are being held for the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team in the lead up to the youth worlds and many are also competing in various regattas in Europe before heading to The Hague.

2022 NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team

Boy's ILCA 6 (Laser Radial): Caleb Armit Girl's ILCA 6: Teaghan Denney Girl's 420: Nicola Hume & Dani Wooldridge Boy's 420: Lucas Day & Sam Scott Boy's windfoiling: Jack Parr Girl's windfoiling: Aimee Bright Girl's 29er: Lucy Leith & Lizzie Shapland Boy's 29er: George Lee Rush & Seb Menzies Boy's kitefoiling: Hugo Wigglesworth Nacra 15 Helena Sanderson & Cam McGlashan

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