Riding high for Rio

Image: Andre Bittencourt/British Sailing Team

Image: Andre Bittencourt/British Sailing Team

In this month’s British Sailing Team column Alison Young reflects on her history-making win at the Laser Radial World Championship in Vallarta.

It has not been long since I won the Laser Radial World Championships in Mexico, and I must admit it is still a bit weird to hear ‘World Champion’ and my name in the same breath.

I am still me, I am still going to mess up in racing from time to time like everyone does, but it was just great to win the Worlds and it is a big confidence boost into the rest of the season, with the Rio Olympic Games around three months away now.

My progress prior to the Worlds had been going well, but I was conscious that I had had a string of fourths and fifths heading in to the event, and that does start to grind on you after a while. While there is plenty still to work on between now and the Games, it is great to know that the programme we have put together is heading in the right direction, and it can deliver, but also that we can still make some adjustments over the next few months to improve on that.

20150610 Copyright onEdition 2015© Free for editorial use image, please credit: onEdition Alison Young, GBR, Women's One Person Dinghy (Laser Radial) at day one of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth & Portland. Returning to the London 2012 Olympic waters, the ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland is taking place between 8-14 June with the racing conducted over five days between 10-14 June at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. Medal race day on Sunday 14 June will decide the overall event winners in each class. Follow ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland on Twitter - @SailingWC_GBR and Facebook - www.facebook.com/ISAFSailingWorldCup website: http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/regattas/weymouthandportland_2015.php For more information please contact:Pippa Phillips pippa.phillips@intotheblue.biz +44(0)7967 705697 Supported by: UK Sport #EveryRoadToRio, RYA, Icom, SLAM, Volvo Car UK, Yamaha.  If you require a higher resolution image or you have any other onEdition photographic enquiries, please contact onEdition on 0845 900 2 900 or email info@onEdition.com This image is copyright onEdition 2015©. This image has been supplied by onEdition and must be credited onEdition. The author is asserting his full Moral rights in relation to the publication of this image. Rights for onward transmission of any image or file is not granted or implied. Changing or deleting Copyright information is illegal as specified in the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988. If you are in any way unsure of your right to publish this image please contact onEdition on 0845 900 2 900 or email info@onEdition.com

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I had never been out to Vallarta before so was not sure what to expect, but conditions-wise we had mid-range stuff of around 8-14 knots with a little bit of chop and not a lot of room on the race course.

As ever with the Radials it was pretty tight racing, but I really enjoy that about the Laser. You can work really hard to find a little speed edge and you know that it is not down to having better equipment or a technological advantage.

It is pure racing, and it comes down to technique and the decisions you make on the race course. Fitness is also really key – I am fairly tall and have got good leverage so being able to get the most out of that when the breeze does come in is a big advantage.

In the end the Worlds win came down to just a single point over USA’s Paige Railey, and I won the last race of the series to secure my World Championship gold, which was a great way to finish.


I had not won a World Championship medal before, let alone a gold one, and to become the first British woman to win a Worlds in a single-handed Olympic dinghy is obviously a huge achievement. It was cool to get the so many messages of support, and from such a variety of people who you would not expect necessarily to be following sailing. That has been really nice.

But of course the Olympics is the big goal for this year and there is still work to do to be successful there. We have got some areas that we are working on in decision-making which we are keen to keep evolving and pushing forwards, and then there are some Rio-specific work on aspects of technique as well as getting a better handle on the venue conditions.

I am also excited that we have a home World Cup in Weymouth & Portland coming up (6-12 June), which will be our final major event before the Games, and a great opportunity for spectators to come and see what elite Olympic classes racing is all about, and get behind the team as we head to Rio.

It is going to be a busy few months and some hard work ahead but I am really motivated for that final push.

Free-of-charge tickets for the Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland, to be held at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, are available at https://2016sailingworldcupgb.eventbrite.co.uk

The National Lottery-funded British Sailing Team is proudly supported by official partners Volvo Car UK, Zhik and Peters & May. Follow the team’s latest news and updates at britishsailingteam.com or on Twitter @BritishSailing