Emsworth and RYA Volvo Team GBR sailors Jess Lavery and Georgie Mothersele finished ninth overall at their first ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships – and feel they have gained a priceless experience which will benefit their future sailing careers.
With light variable winds dominating the regatta, Britain’s young racing talents found the unpredictable shifts in wind and soaring temperatures challenging out on the Croatian waters at Zadar.
The Emsworth Sailing Club 420 duo, both ISAF Youth Worlds debutants, ended the championships with a top-ten finish, which is a fantastic achievement in such a highly competitive class. The girls finished ninth overall while also posting a first-place finish in the opening race.
The event is seen by many as the Youth Olympics for sailing, and has over the years identified talented sailors such as Olympic gold medallists Ben Ainslie, Sarah Ayton and Iain Percy.
“It has been a great experience and we have loved every minute of it. We are really happy to have finished in the top ten and we have learnt a huge amount for future regattas. Our communication has improved and we have now got the confidence to race in bigger fleets.
“We know we are competitive when racing against the world’s best so are now looking forward to future events where we can apply what we have learnt,” explained Lavery.
“The level of competition has been excellent as we have been racing against the world’s best youth sailors,” explained Mothersele. “To finish first in the opening race was a massive confidence boost. We came into the championships hoping to finish in the top half of the fleet, so to finish in the top ten is fantastic.
“We hope we can come back next year and do even better, and who knows, maybe even finish with a medal.”
Duncan Truswell, RYA racing youth manager, said: “Jess and Georgie posted some impressive scores including a race win and worked extremely hard throughout the week to come away with ninth place in uncharacteristically hot and light conditions.
“The girls are still very young and have the opportunity to compete for selection and build upon this performance in 2012.
“Most importantly they were keen to take everything they could from the experience and will be keen to implement any learning at the forthcoming European Championship starting next week out in Portugal.
“Many sailors from the team would have been in with a shot at a medal on a different week in Zadar in the more stereotypical conditions, we didn’t get that, it was extremely light and fickle some days, but they hung in there, dug deep, and stuck to the processes really believing in themselves even when their confidence was taking a bit of a battering in the light Mediterranean-style conditions.
“To bounce back when the breeze got up and really show their potential despite such a hot, long and draining week of competition was great.”
Strong winds on Saturday led to the beginners’ and crews’ races at Dell Quay being postponed.
Sunday proved just as windy but a hardy few ventured out for the first two races in the Late Trophy Series.
Mike Fitzgerald and Tim Dormer won both Laser 2000 races comfortably from Tom and Fiona Dobbs, while in the solo fleet, Chris Ede and Malcolm Buchanan had close racing, winning one race each.
The handicap fleet produced interesting racing with choice of sail being all-important among the Lasers.
Stu Denyer and Chris West finished within two seconds of each other but Denyer with the smaller Radial rig had a higher handicap and so took first place.
Third place went to Nikki Buchanan sailing with an even smaller 4.7 rig.
The second race produced a similar close finish between West and Denyer, with Denyer again winning on corrected time and Andrew Buchanan (Laser) third.