Last week the RYA Youth Nationals took place in Largs, Scotland. For anyone unfamiliar with this event, it is the proving ground of our future Olympic stars, all the top youths in all the sailing disciplines meet to fight for their places in the Youth Squad and in turn a place at the Youth Worlds. Well this year it is only fair to say that temperatures were on the very chilly side, so does this mean we have some of the most hardiest winners yet? Well we asked Saskia Sills and Kieran Martin about the event, how it felt to win and what is on the agenda for the coming year. You can also check out an official video announcing all the winners at the bottom of the feature.
Kieran Martin – 2013 RS:X Youth National Champion
Well I knew it would be tough competition going into the event as I had heard it was really hard wind, shifty and tough racing conditions. However I kept focused because this is really the wind I perform best in which kept me quietly confident. After the first couple of days I realised that it was quite possible for me to win, I felt I was going really well making good decisions and sailing the wind right.
It felt really amazing to be selected again for the ISAFs, as I had quite an unlucky event last year with my Black Flagged result. I feel it is an opportunity to go again and hopefully medal, as I could have last year. I am really looking forward to going with a new team, and I know what to expect going to the event, which only makes me even more excited because I know how good it is.
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Saskia Sills – 2013 RS:X Ladies Youth National Champion
Last week the RYA Youth Nationals took place in Largs, Scotland. The event was 5 days long and we completed all but 1 of the 15 scheduled races. The racing was very tough conditions and competition wise the conditions were very gusty and shifty as the wind was coming from the East over some big hills. During the week we had varied wind strengths from hard pumping to hooked in and going pretty quick. The temperature was cold throughout the week with snow on the hills surrounding us. The race committee did a great job of getting the races done in such demanding and tricky conditions.
I went into the competition expecting to be in the top 3 in the girls fleet. I really wanted to win it so I could have the opportunity to go back to the Youth worlds in the summer and defend my title from last year. The first day went well for me, I focussed on my process goals and finished with some good scores against the guys too. I was sitting in 1st place over night in the girls fleet. The second day came and we had changed course area. It took me a while to work out the conditions and so I posted 2 pretty bad results with 1 good one by the end of the day. I was now sitting in 2nd place in the girls fleet. Even though I wanted to win this event I was feeling fine lying in 2nd as I knew we had a lot of races and time to go. The week went on and I got back into the top spot and finished the week 1st. I am so happy that I at least get the opportunity to go back and try to defend my title in the summer at the youth worlds, it is a massive ask and I know the door is wide open for anyone to win it – but now all I can do is try my best!
Next for me is a competition in Weymouth this weekend and then I’m going out to Hyeres in 2 weeks time to take part in the ISAF sailing world cup event. This event is a senior regatta so I am looking to gain racing experience from sailing along side the best windsurfers in the world and learn lots from them. Over the next few months I have my A.S. level exams and so its going to be hard to juggle my windsurfing commitments and school commitments. When my exams finish I will compete in the Sail For Gold regatta in June and then the Youth Euros in France and finally then the ISAF Youth Worlds in Cyprus. I am really looking forward to being part of RYA Volvo Team GBR for the 2nd time at the ISAF Youth Worlds.
Rio 2016 is a long way off and its pretty likely I wont be ready to trial for Rio in time but my goal is to go to the Olympics and so 2020 or 2024 will be more realistic for me. We also have some of the best RS:X windsurfers in the world from our country and so the competition will be tough.
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Announcing the ISAF Youth Worlds Team
Photos – Marc Turner