- 22 August 2009 | Windsurfing
The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy has become a hive of windsurfing activity today (Saturday 22 August) as some 300 sailors from across the globe have descended for the 2009 IWA Junior, Youth and Masters World Championships.
But one lad who is taking all the commotion in his stride is Launceston’s Sam Sills, who goes into the event as one of Britain’s best hopes for silverware in the Bic Techno Under 17 World Championship.
The 16-year-old Cornishman, who was crowned Under 17 European Champion in April, arrives on the Dorset coast looking to go one better than the silver Worlds medal he claimed in Sopot, Poland last summer.
Having won the Under 15 World title in 2007, this is Sills’ fifth and final Techno Worlds event and the level-headed youngster is hoping to make it a memorable Technos swansong.
He said: “I’ve been concentrating on the Worlds since around the middle of June and I’m really looking forward to racing getting underway on Monday. This is my fifth Worlds now and I just try to approach it like any other event – I’m sailing fast, I feel well-prepared and I’m happy that my kit is as perfect as it can be.
“For me the next couple of days are just about staying relaxed and chilled and keeping hydrated as I find that if I get wound up or think too much about it all then I perform worse. I felt at last year’s Worlds that I could have done even better than I did so it would be nice to do that here.
“I’ve never had an international competition in England before, they have always been abroad, so for my final Worlds to be at Weymouth and Portland is pretty cool as I know the venue pretty well and it’s unusual not to have to acclimatise to a different country, which also helps with keeping relaxed.”
Incorporating the Bic Techno Under 15 and Under 17 and Raceboard Youth and Raceboard Masters Worlds, the regatta’s official Opening Ceremony takes place tomorrow evening (Sunday 23 August) with the regatta running until next Saturday (29 August).
Overseeing all the registration and measurement action, RYA Competitions Manager David Campbell-James said: “Everything’s been going really well so far, we have had a lot of boards through and the atmosphere is great. It’s fantastic to be able to bring events like this to British shores and we’re looking forward to a cracking week’s competition.”
The IWA Junior, Youth and Masters Worlds is the first of three back-to-back World Class events being run by the RYA, supported by UK Sport, being hosted at WPNSA over the next month with the RS:X World Championships taking place the week immediately following the IWA Worlds before the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta – the final round of the 2009 ISAF Sailing World Cup Series – welcomes the cream of the World’s Olympic Classes sailors from 14 – 19 September.