Young Brits struggle with light conditions in Portugal

Morgan Peach and Owen Bowerman Picture: Paul Wyeth
Morgan Peach and Owen Bowerman Picture: Paul Wyeth
Leigh McMillan announced as Helmsman onboard Land Rover BAR Academy. Picture: Alex Palmer

Leading sailor back at Land Rover BAR

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Britain’s young sailors have struggled to make an impression on the medal places amid difficult sailing conditions at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Tavira, Portugal.

The 12-strong British Youth Sailing Team, which includes a quartet of local sailors, is competing in all eight events, but has slipped out of medal contention after a strong start.

Sea breezes have provided some decent sailing, but light winds have seen disjointed results and been a challenge for the young racers.

In the SL16 catamaran class, Hayling Island Sailing Club’s Jess Eales, racing with Eastbourne’s Oli Greber, has not found the conditions entirely suitable and was in 11th going into the final day.

‘Oli and Jess struggled for pace in the light breeze, which is down to a mixture of weight and technique,’ said team coach Oli Woodcock.

‘There are a lot of crews here this year that have quite a big weight advantage when competing in such light breeze.

‘Unfortunately for us, the lighter you are, the quicker you go in the light breeze and Jess and Oli are one of the heavier crews.’

‘Nonetheless, they seem positive and keen to learn how to sail in these light conditions which is extremely pleasing to see.

‘They are a relatively new crew in the SL16 so the main aim for them is to take away as much as possible and to really learn from the fantastic experience.’

Portsmouth-born Owen Bowerman and 29er class partner Morgan Peach were in 10th after battling back from an early setback.

‘Owen and Morgan started well and sailed a clean lane to the right which was looking good,’ said Woodcock.

‘In the top third they unfortunately missed a shift and sailed all the way to the lay line and rounded in eighth.

‘Race two and three was a nightmare for the lads, which they would like to forget about.

‘We have debriefed them both and they are now clear on what and where the mistakes were made.’

In the 420s, Warsash racer Tim Riley and HISC’s James Taylor were also lying 11th, despite some smart tactical sailing.

The top-placed Brit in the regatta is Imogen Sills, who led the RS:X windsurfing fleet after the first day of competition with a 2-1 scoreline and is currently sixth in the girls’ class.

Meanwhile, at the 470 European Championships in Athens, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark took silver at the event, while the men’s pairing of Luke Patience and Elliot Willis won gold.

n The International Moth World Championship starts today at Hayling Island Sailing Club.

See The News all next week for updates and results.