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Royal Lymington Yact Club sailors shine at the RYA Youth National Championships at Pwllheli in Wales



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A HOST of talented young sailors from the Royal Lymington Yacht Club (RLymYC) excelled in the 2022 RYA Youth National Championships at Pwllheli in Wales.

The premier youth sailing regatta attracted 280 sailors from around the country.

The competition served as the qualifier event for the upcoming Allianz Youth Sailing World Championships, with the top boys and mixed boat and top girls boat selected.

RLymYC's Henry Heathcote and Hector Bennett finished as the first boys in the 420 Class (Photo: RYA)
RLymYC's Henry Heathcote and Hector Bennett finished as the first boys in the 420 Class (Photo: RYA)

The sailors contended with light but shifty wind and unstable weather throughout the week, with race conditions varying from sunny to foggy. Therefore, a lot of different tactics were required, a testament to the successful sailors’ knowledge.

In the 29er class, a tight battle for overall gold developed early on between RLymYC pair Ben Mueller and Sam Webb and fellow RLymYC member Santi Sesto Cosby and Maidenhead SC’s Leo Wilkinson.

Sesto Cosby and Wilkinson pulled away to be crowned RYA Youth national champions on the final day, with Mueller and Webb in the silver medal position.

Sesto Cosby (16) said: Our goal was to get a spot in the RYA summer squad. Winning the event was really amazing because we worked so hard these past few months, and to see it all come together, especially against such a tough fleet, was really amazing. Our friends Ben and Sam are great sailors; they put up a really tough fight and made us work very, very hard to stay ahead.

RYA National Youth Champions RLymYC's Santi Sesto Cosby and Maidenhead SC's Leo Wilkinson, with RLymYC's Ben Mueller and Sam Webb who took second place (Photo: RYA)
RYA National Youth Champions RLymYC's Santi Sesto Cosby and Maidenhead SC's Leo Wilkinson, with RLymYC's Ben Mueller and Sam Webb who took second place (Photo: RYA)

“It was hard moving from an Optimist into a double-handed youth class in the middle of the pandemic as it takes a lot of time to learn to sail with someone else. Leo and I started sailing together only in January, and before that he’d only helmed. So, it has been a very steep learning curve; that it all clicked together at the right time was just amazing.”

Annabelle Vines and her crew Raulf Berry (HISC) finished as the first mixed pair (17th overall), with Ollie Vines and his crew Kuba Staite (HISC) finishing an honourable 15th.

Ella Lightbody and Felicity Brellisford finished fourth in the girls competition (20th overall), and Agnes Bracey Davis with crew Felix Cummings (HISC) finished fifth in mixed pairs (32nd overall).

In the 420 class, Henry Heathcote and Hector Bennett were first boys and second overall. Meanwhile, Cameron Bignold Kyles stood in at the 11th hour to helm for Gabriella Burlton (RSYC), with the pair finishing sixth mixed (14th overall), a good result for his first time in a 420.

Emma Breese finished as the ninth mixed pair (26th overall) with crew Arthur Bailey (Oxford SC).

RYA national champions in the 29er Class, Santi Sesto Cosby and Leo Wilkinson (Photo: RYA)
RYA national champions in the 29er Class, Santi Sesto Cosby and Leo Wilkinson (Photo: RYA)

RLymYC’s Jack Graham Troll finished ninth out of 61 boats in the ILCA6 men, while Anya Morris finished 17th in the ILCA6 women. Meanwhile, RLymYC’s Findlay Bignold Kyles joined Lymington Town Sailing Club’s William Homewood in the Nacra 15, finishing a solid seventh overall.

Royal Lymington’s head coach, Hugh Styles, said: “The performance of our teenage sailors at the RYA Youth Nationals was fantastic, they have all trained incredibly hard, and we are immensely proud of them all.

“It is great to see our young sailors flourish, from starting with sailing adventures in Optimists and Wednesday Junior Sailing to progressing into double-handers, the highly competitive youth classes and beyond.”

Local children aged 8-18 can learn to sail for £1 per week at the Royal Lymington Yacht Club’s OnBoard Centre, Wednesday Junior Sailing. For more information or to register, visit rlymyc.org.uk/wjs

The club also runs RYA Youth Sailing Courses for beginners and improvers during the school holidays. For more information, visit rlymyc.org.uk/training



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