Dynamic duo to represent Great Britain

Hayling duo Anna Prescott and Eve Townsend in action
Hayling duo Anna Prescott and Eve Townsend in action
This is what Alex Thomson Racing could look like in Haslar Marina, if planning permission is given. Picture: HGP / Dean and Reddyhoff

£5m plan will turn Gosport’s Haslar Marina into ‘world-class’ centre of sailing

  • Hayling Island Sailing Club pair came second at the British Youth Nationals
  • Duo going for more success in busy summer schedule
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ANNA PRESCOTT and Eve Townsend, from Hayling Island Sailing Club, have been selected to compete for Great Britain at the 2015 EUROSAF Youth European Championships.

The duo, who compete in the 29er class, came second in the girl’s fleet at the British Youth Nationals earlier this month to secure their place on the 18-strong team.

I think our expectations have changed now, and the Youth Nationals showed us that if you tell yourself you can do better then you will do better

Anna Prescott

In all, six boat classes competed in the Youth Nationals at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy, including the 420, 29er, Spitfire, Laser, Laser Radial and RS:X windsurfers.

Light winds and shifty conditions were prevalent throughout the five-day regatta.

That ensured it was a big test of concentration and technical skill for all 259 boats that took to the water.

Prescott, 18, and Townsend, 17, were the fourth female crew at the end of the first day.

It was a ranking that improved after an impressive second place overall in the final race of the second day.

But day three saw them take the lead in the girls fleet.

With racing cancelled on the penultimate day due to fog, the pair were in pole position heading into the final race.

However, the gold medal was snatched at the death by Royal Lymington Yacht Club duo Mimi El-Khazindar and Emma Loveridge.

Prescott and Townsend’s second place, and 13th overall, has secured the Hampshire pair a place at the EUROSAF Youth event in France in August.

Prescott declared herself delighted with their performance.

She had been expecting a more modest placing against some very experienced opponents.

She said: ‘Our only aim at the start of the week was to get into the gold fleet, so we were really pleased to be the second-placed girls crew.

‘Coming into the event, Mimi and Emma have been the best girls’ crew all year.

‘So we knew it would be tough to overcome them, even with our lead.

‘Eve and I have been sailing together for just over a year now.

‘A lot of the other crews are more experienced.

‘We’ve both been trying to focus on exams, so we haven’t been able to sail together much.’

The duo now face a hectic summer schedule, with Prescott taking her A-Level exams before they tackle the 29er Europeans in Holland in July.

This is followed by the EUROSAF Youth’s and just six days later the World championships commence in Pwllheli, North Wales.

The Peter Symonds student believes that their success will stand them in good stead as they step up to take on the world’s best over the coming months – and they will be gunning for more glory.

‘I think our expectations have changed now, and the Youth Nationals showed us that if you tell yourself you can do better then you will do better,’ added Prescott.

‘We used to think mid-fleet was good.

‘But last week we said “no”, and we pulled through, which proved we can do better than we previously thought.

‘The coaches want to get medals from the EUROSAF competition, so that is a definite aim.

‘Hopefully we can get some more good results this summer and keep on progressing.’