24 members of the British Youth Sailing Team are in Brest, France for the EUROSAF European Youth Sailing Championships where racing gets underway tomorrow.
The EUROSAFs, which feature SL16 racing for the first time, will see Europe’s top sailors come together to compete for European honours.
Each class has two British representatives, selected off the back of their 2015 RYA Youth National Championships (4 – 10 April) performance.
Leading the British challenge are recently crowned 29er European Champions, Lymington’s Mimi El-Khazindar and Emma Loveridge, from Stratford-upon-Avon. They are full of confidence following their gold medal winning performance in Medemblik, The Netherlands, and will be hoping to upgrade their 2014 EUROSAF bronze medal. Also in the girl’s 29er fleet are Anna Prescott and Eve Townsend from Hayling Island Sailing Club.
Ollie Aldridge and Nathaniel Gordon from Parkstone Yacht Club will represent Britain in the boy’s 29er fleet for the first time alongside team mates, Daniel Venables and Patrick Keech from Sutton.
Venables and Keech’s stand out performance at the RYA Youth Nationals won them gold and a spot to sail in Brest for the British Youth Sailing Team and Keech has high hopes for the week ahead, “I’m mostly looking forward to racing some of the best boats in Europe before our World Championships later on in August. It will be a good indicator to see if our training has worked.
“We would like to finish inside the top three which will give us a real confidence boost for the international events later this year.”
New to the EUROSAFs are young brothers Robbie and Alex King from Warsash, they teamed up in September 2014 and have been consistently at the top of the UK 420 fleet.
Daniel Atherton and Cardiff’s Matthew Viney, finished eighth last year and have learned many lessons as they pursue a 2015 podium finish.
“Having experienced the EUROSAFs once before, we have done a medal race and know what to expect so can prepare well for it. Also with the small amount of discards available we will be much more wary of playing it safe and keeping consistent,” said Isle of Wight’s Atherton.
Competing in the girl’s 420 fleet are Lymington’s Jenny Cropley with crew Emma Baker from Weirwood who finished fourth in 2014, Cardiff newcomers Jemma Viney and Tilly Matthews complete the 420 line up.
Jack Cookson won bronze at the Radial Youth European Championship in Viana de Castelo, Portugal on Saturday (25 July) and is now poised to lead the team of four Laser Radial sailors as racing begins on Wednesday.
EUROSAF gold medal winning 420 crew, Daniel Whiteley, has set himself a new challenge for 2015, the Laser Radial. Whiteley, from North Wales, has been working hard for a second gold, “It was great to win last year and I’m hoping to do the same this year too but the competition’s very tough and in the Laser it feels like I’m going to a completely different event to the one last year.
“I’ve been training hard at my club and around North Wales at the weekends along with the occasional weekday. During the week I have been at the gym training most days.”
Grafham Water sailor Karyna Manuel led the Laser Radial RYA Youth Nationals from start to finish in Weymouth winning her a selection place for the EUROSAFs alongside Ellie Brown, from Beaver SC.
Nottingham based Emily Hall and Oxford windsurfer Alice Read will take up the RS:X challenge. Both had a successful RYA Youth Nationals competing alongside the boys to secure podium finishes and head.
This is the first time that Read will be part of the British Youth Sailing Team, “I’m really excited and looking forward to being part of the team and representing Britain.
“I have taken part in the Worlds in Gdynia, Poland, which has been great for getting experience in dealing with different water and some challenging wind conditions.”
Read has set herself a number of goals, on and off the water, “I would like to improve throughout the event and keep learning about different conditions and racing techniques, in particular being confident on the start line.
“I’m really looking forward to being part of the squad and going independently without my parents!”
Cameron Coghill and James Hatcher will race the boy’s RS:X.
This year the SL16 will be on the EUROSAF racing programme for the very first time. Parkstone sailor, Jack Butters, is representing British Youth Sailing with crew Sam James, “I feel excited about them [SL16] being included. I also feel that it is going to benefit the class, with the increased publicity around the event. This might make more people in the UK want to sail them.”
Butters and James have both transitioned from the Topper class and are enjoying the SL16 explains Butters, “It is very different. They go so much faster. You can’t tack as much up the beat. But there are some similarities such as using compasses and starting is a bit like a Topper start.”
Brightlingsea’s Eddie Bridle and James King will also race the SL16.
RYA Pathway Manager and Team Leader in Brest, Roy McCubbin said, “Our selection at the RYA Youth Nationals earlier this year was extremely tough and so our standard of sailors in the team is high this year. We also have the addition of the SL16 class at the EUROSAFs and I’m looking forward to see how they get on supported by Paul Wakelin.
“For the first time we are taking a larger support team. Tim Jones will play an active role and focus on the Sport Science of the event, this learning will then be brought back and introduced into land days for the rest of the programme. Also on board we have experienced and professional coaches supporting the sailors on the water.”
Racing starts on Wednesday 29 July and continues each day until a double point’s Medal Race on Sunday 2 August.
For further information please visit the EUROSAF website http://www.eurosaf.org .
You can follow the team and see the action unfold on the British Youth Sailing Team Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Britishyouthsailingteam and on Twitter at @RYAyouthracing
British Youth Sailing Team:
Daniel Atherton (Gurnard SC) and Matthew Viney (Cardiff Bay YC)
Robbie and Alex King (Warsash/Royal Lymington YC)
Jenny Cropley (Royal Lymington YC) and Emma Baker (Weir Wood SC)
Jemma Viney and Tilly Matthews (Cardiff Bay YC)
Daniel Venables and Patrick Keech (Sutton)
Ollie Aldridge and Nathaniel Gordon (Parkstone YC)
Mimi El-Khazindar (Royal Lymington YC) and Emma Loveridge (Royal Lymington YC)
Anna Prescott (HISC) and Eve Townsend (Emsworth/HISC)
Laser Radial boys
Jack Cookson (Castle Cove SC)
Daniel Whiteley (Pwllheli SC)
Laser Radial girls
Karyna Manuel (Grafham Water)
Ellie Brown (Beaver SC)
James Hatcher (Bristol Corinthian YC)
Emily Hall (NCSC)
Alice Read (Oxford Sailing Club)
Eddie Bridle and James King (Brightlingsea SC)
Jack Butters and Sam James (Parkstone YC)