Skegness sailing star Robert York has been crowned the Royal Yachting Association’s (RYA’s) Youth National Champion.
The 18-year-old collected the tile after the RYA’s premier youth racing event came to a close after five days of competition on the Olympic waters of Weymouth and Portland last week.
As well as picking up the honour in the RS:X boys windsurfing event, the Skegness Academy student was announced as one of the 12 sailors who will represent the UK at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships 2014.
The names of the sailors who will travel to Tavira, Portugal from the July 12-19 to compete against the world’s best youth sailors were revealed by double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Gosling at the prize-giving of the RYA Youth National Championships on Friday (April 18).
The 2014 regatta was staged at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy and attracted a record entry 392 sailors from around the country, including a hand full of international competitors from as far afield as New Zealand.
The RS:X boys’ class was the one to watch as the battle for the top spot was the hot topic of conversation on the final day of racing.
Entering the final day of the regatta York held a two point cushion at the top of the leaderboard and sailed to an empathic event victory by finishing his final race in second.
“It feels pretty awesome, I have put in a lot of hard work over the week so it’s nice for it to pay off,” he said.
“It means a lot, I have been in the RS:X for two years now. Last year was my first Youth Nationals and it didn’t really go to plan so it’s nice to win it this year. I have been looking up to people for a quite a few years so it’s nice to finally be there.”
Previous winners of the RYA Youth National Championships and the who have gone onto to compete at the ISAF Youth Worlds include some of Britain’s most talented sailors, such as multiple Olympic gold medallists Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy and Welsh 470 sailor Hannah Mills who won silver at the 2012 Olympic Games.
York continued: “It is a great honour to be the single sailor to represent your class and join the list of great names who have gone and competed for Great Britain at the ISAF Youth Worlds over the years.”
Double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Gosling OBE, who formed part of the RYA selection panel at the RYA Youth National Championship, said: “Being selected for the ISAF Youth Worlds is the real stepping stone from Youth Sailing into becoming a professional sailor as they get older.
“I remember going to the ISAF Youth Worlds and it being the absolute pinnacle of my year and wanting nothing more than to perform at the Youth nationals to get there, then perform at the Worlds when I got there. I think for them it is absolutely everything if they have any aspirations to be Olympic Sailors or Olympic medallists this is the first stepping stone.”
Oli Woodcock, head coach for the British Youth Sailing Team at the event, said: “I think we have got a mixture of experience, from those that have been before and some new faces. We have the top sailors in the UK, selected and raring to go. They are going to train as hard as they can between now and the July to make sure that they go to Tavira, Portugal and do the best they can and hopefully bring back an impressive haul of medals.”
For the full list of results from the RYA Youth National Championships 2014 at WPNSA visit the event website.
To view all the action including photos and daily videos from the RYA Youth Nationals Championships visit www.facebook.com/britishyouthsailingteam.