Sailing is one of the most successful Olympic sports in the UK and Great Britain has been the world’s top Olympic sailing nations for a number of years.
Stone girl, Sarah Norbury, at just 16, is one of the promising young sailors in the RYA’s World Class Youth Racing Programme, ranking in amongst the top three young sailors in the country in this class of boat.
Having been a member of the British sailing team, taking part in the 420 World Championships and Junior European Championships in 2013, Sarah is now working towards qualifying for both events this year.
The selection events take place over two weekends this month and a week long competition in April. The first selection event is the Winter Championships which will be held in Pwllheli, Wales, this coming weekend (March 8 and 9).
She and her crew, Mari Davies, will compete against up to 50 boats, all determined to gain a coveted place in the British 420 Sailing Teams.
The second selection event, the Spring Championships will be held in the waters off Hayling Island at the end of March. Hayling Island is a tricky place to sail because of the strong tides and the winds round the Isle of Wight.
The final selection event is a week long competition, the RYA Youth National Championships held in Weymouth, home of the National Sailing Academy and where the Olympic sailing took place in 2102.
“I’m nervous but also excited,” said Sarah. “The competitions will be tough and because they’re over such a long period, it can be hard to hold concentration.
"We’ll have three races each day at the competitions which means being out on the water all day. On the other hand, Mari and I have trained hard over the winter and we’re pretty confident about our boat speed and our sailing techniques so we hope to qualify again this year.
"I loved sailing in Spain in the World Championships last year and am looking forward to qualifying for the 2014 Worlds which will be in Germany this year.”
After the qualifiers, Sarah will have to knuckle down as she is studying for 4 AS levels at Alleyne’s Academy.
Sarah would like to thank her sponsors, Gill Marine, Stafford Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council, Stone Lions, Selden Masts, English Braids and Geoff Cox Motors for all their support.
On Friday, Sarah got her year off to a winning start when picking up the female U18 Sports Performer of the Year award (for 2013), at the annual Sport Stafford Borough sports awards, at the County Showground, Stafford.