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Lymington sailor Hannah Snellgrove lays down marker with World Cup Series silver at Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Mallorca

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DELIGHTED Lymington sailor Hannah Snellgrove won a World Cup Series silver medal at the six-day regatta in Mallorca – her best ever achievement at international level and at the prestigious event.

She was one of six members of the elite British Sailing Team squad who claimed medals in the Trofeo Princesa Sofia – the first event of the 2022 season across 10 classes.

Lymington Town Sailing Club member Hannah (31), was impressive amid blustery conditions in Palma Bay and was second out of the 89 entrants going into the final medal race of the ILCA 6 (formerly Laser Radial) class.

Hannah Snellgrove battled to silver in Mallorca
Hannah Snellgrove battled to silver in Mallorca

However, while she was guaranteed a medal, just a point separated the three-time UK national champion from third place – Greece’s Vasileia Karachaliou.

That meant it was a straight fight between the pair, with the better performer promised second position, and Hannah held her nerve to secure second spot on the podium and lay down a marker for the season ahead.

“I feel really happy and relieved,” said Hannah. “It was a really stressful medal race, and I went into it knowing I could win either silver or bronze, so it was a case of who-beat-who between Vasileia and me.

“I’m super happy to come away with the silver. It’s my best result at this regatta and it’s a massive confidence boost for the season ahead.

“I keep checking the result and thinking it’s going to change or isn’t real – it’s not sunk in yet!” added Cambridge graduate Hannah, who is sponsored by law firm Moore Barlow and has her sights set on making the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Palma is always a really big deal; it’s a check-in for people about where their winter training has taken them and where they are in general. It’s my best-ever international result in a championship this big – I’m really pleased!

“It felt like I raced a really consistent series all week. I don’t think I had a result outside of the top 10, which is really cool.”

The result is yet another impressive example of Hannah’s determination and resolve, having undergone quite a journey with British Sailing.

She has long been a prospect, having learned to sail at Salterns Sailing Club in Lymington when she was just seven, and competed in multiple championships, including the ISAF Sailing World Cup, Laser Radial Women’s World and European championships.

But she has been hampered by injuries and in 2014 lost her funding, forcing her to retire from the sport for a spell.

However, seeking a final crack at making the Olympics, so got a full-time job with the A&T and crowdfunded, earning enough money to buy a new boat which enabled her to once again compete at world level.

From then on, she earned impressive results that secured her British Sailing funding in 2018 and a spot back at international-level competition.

Hannah was not the only local interest to compete at the event – Lymington’s British 470 pair Vita Heathcote and Ryan Orr finished ninth in what was the class’s new mixed-format debut.

The British Sailing Team now turns its attention to the Semaine Olympique Francais in Hyeres later this month.

Full results from Trofeo Princesa Sofia are at www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/en/default/races/race-resultsall

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