STONE sailing star Sarah Norbury has been crowned RYA Youth National champion.
After five days of competition on the Olympic waters of Weymouth and Portland on Good Friday, the 17-year-old not only picked up the Youth National title in the double handed 420, it was announced she was one of 12 sailors selected to represent Great Britain at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Portugal this July.
The 2014 regatta attracted a record entry of 392 sailors from around the country, including a handful of international competitors from as far afield as New Zealand.
Norbury claimed victory in the 420 female with her crew Mari Davies from Wales by an impressive16 points, finishing fourth overall in a highly competitive mixed fleet of over 45 dinghies.
“It’s absolutely amazing to win the RYA Youth Nationals,” expressed the South Staffs Sailing Club member.
“We had a challenging event. We had two days where we were winning the Ladies on count back, which was interesting, but very empowering as well as we were able to combat the nerves and get back on form after two difficult days.”
Previous winners of the RYA Youth National Championships, and 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 Hannah Mills.
Norbury added: “To be representing my country and my class at such a prestigious event is an honour and I feel very proud of us both. To think I am following in the footsteps of some great Olympic sailors is just amazing.”
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.”