Saskia Sills 

It’s a 1-2-3 for Britain in the race for the girls’ Under 15 Techno World title as twins Saskia and Imogen Sills and newcomer Emma Labourne upped the tempo on day two of the IWA Junior, Youth and Masters Windsurfing World Championships.

Although it was Imogen who sealed victory in the two races run at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) today (Tuesday 25 August), it was Saskia that edged into pole position just a point ahead of her sister courtesy of two second places.

Meanwhile, 12-year-old Labourne, competing at her first World Championship event, is keeping the 13-year-old twins on their toes with an outstanding performance over the first two days of the regatta to lay third.

In April the Sills’ both medalled at the European Championships, Saskia claiming silver and Imogen bronze but after admitting their pleasure with their current placings they conceded the standard of competition was so high they could not take anything for granted for the rest of the week.

Saskia said: “The standard’s really improved even since the Europeans. Marta Maggetti from Italy who is fourth overall at the moment has really come through since then and Emma is sailing so well as well. She’s been really good but that’s great because that competition just keeps you on your toes.”

Imogen added: “We expected the Israeli girls to be strong and they were really good in the lighter winds yesterday but it’s also great to see girls here from countries like the USA and Singapore racing in the Under 17s because that means more girls are windsurfing around the world, which is good for the sport.”

Emma said: “I didn’t really know what to expect at this event but I’ve surprised myself with my performance so far, I’ve been really pleased and I’m enjoying the challenge of competing against the best girls in the World. My aim for this week was to get experience for next year’s Worlds and be selected for the RYA National Junior Squad so I’m hoping I can keep my performances going for the rest of the week.”

If the Brits lead the charge in the Under 15s it’s the girls from Italy, Israel, Poland and France who are dominating the Under 17 girls’ event with Veronica Fanciulli (ITA) leapfrogging Israel’s Hadas Zaga in to top spot as sailors from those four countries make up the top 11 places.  

France enjoyed a day of success in the Techno Under 15s boys’, with Albert Chaillot overtaking Kieran Martin (GBR) into top spot while a good day two for Adam Purcell (GBR) elevates him into bronze medal position.

A scintillating hat-trick of race victories for 2008 Worlds silver medallist Sam Sills, elder brother of Saskia and Imogen, propelled him to the top of the Under 17 boys’ leaderboard ahead of second-placed Mateo Sanz Lanz (ESP) with Gael Cousin (FRA) in third.

With the Under 17 boys set to split into gold and silver fleets after day three, but with strong winds forecast for tomorrow, the decision was taken to run three races for the fleet today to bring their total to five.

David Campbell-James, RYA Event Director, explained: “We made an extra effort to run a fifth race for the Under 17 boys because if they don’t race tomorrow we would otherwise have been splitting the fleet on four races including one discard and it was felt it would be better to try to get them through as many races as possible before the fleet is split. The boys can race a maximum of six races in the qualifying series so if they do race tomorrow it will just be the one race.”

Ali Masters (GBR) heads the Raceboard Youth pack, breaking up France’s day one domination of the fleet. Overnight leader Fabian Pic (FRA) lays just a point behind in second with fellow countryman Olivier Pinlou third.

Four-time Olympian Joao Rodrigues (POR) continues to boss the Raceboard Masters, four points clear of Patrik Pollak (SVK) in second while Barrie Edgington remains third. In fourth overall, Tom Naylor (GBR) is the top Grand Master, Jean Asia (FRA) is the top veteran and Annette Kent (GBR) the highest-ranked female sailor.