Emsworth’s Vikki Payne and Chichester’s Stephanie Orton will be laying down the gauntlet to Britain’s top sailors as they bid to land gold at the 2013 RYA Youth National Championships.
Around 350 of the UK’s finest youth dinghy racers and windsurfers will converge on the west coast of Scotland at the start of next month to do battle in what is regarded as Britain’s premier annual youth sail racing event.
Payne, a member of Emsworth Sailing Club, and Orton, who sails out of Chichester Yacht Club, have competed at the annual event twice before.
The teenagers, both 17, finished as top girls in the high-performance 29er fleet on each occasion.
Last year the south coast duo battled it out at the top of a male-dominated fleet and were the only female crew to finish inside the top 10 – posting a credible ninth position overall out of 72 boats.
The girls are tipped as potential stars of the future and have once again asserted themselves as real contenders for success at this year’s championships, having racked up a great run of results.
Payne and Orton, who attend Oaklands Catholic Sixth Form College and Bishop Luffa School respectively, were crowned female champions of the 2012 EuroCup Series last season and finished first girls – fifth overall – at the Noble Marine 2013 Winter Championships at Draycote Water Sailing Club in February.
As always, this year’s Largs Sailing Club-held regatta doubles up as a selection event for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, which this year take place in Limassol, Cyprus.
RYA Youth Racing manager, Duncan Truswell, said: ‘The RYA Youth National Championships represents the first major opportunity of the new season for youth sailors from around the UK and beyond to compete against each other and contest for selection to international teams across the range of classes.
‘The event always sees some fierce competition, some surprises and some early indications of who to look out for at world and European Championships this summer, and who will be looking to progress into Team GBR, the British team for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship and strive to defend the title as the world’s top youth sailing nation.’