Image: Jen Edney/World Sailing
Windsurfer Islay Watson claimed gold on the penultimate day of the 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships as team mates Vita Heathcote and Milly Boyle guaranteed themselves at least a silver medal in the girls’ 420.
Starting racing in third, Aviemore’s Watson had a day she will never forget taking three race wins to crown an amazing gold medal-winning performance in the girls’ RS:X.
The trio of wins saw Watson leapfrog rivals Veerle ten Have of New Zealand and Italy’s Gio Speciale into an unassailable position at the top of the table.
“It was a cool day, great conditions. They suited me and I made the most of it,” said Watson. “I knew I was only a few points away and I went into the day thinking I can get three firsts and get up there, and that’s what I did.”
The 18-year-old Scot has been pushing for podium places all week long, learning and improving every day which culminated in her impressive title winning race win streak.
“Today my downwinds were a lot better and I didn’t make many mistakes on the laylines,” she added. That’s what kept me in front. I’m pretty tired at this point. The days have been long; a long week with big conditions. It’s been tough.”
Tired or not, Watson can sail the final race safe in the knowledge her rivals can’t take her gold medal away.
Joining Watson in the Youth Worlds medal ceremony will be Heathcote and Boyle as the Lymington pair guaranteed themselves at least a silver.
“Today was a good day for us,” said crew Boyle, 17. “We took two seconds, almost a first, but just didn’t quite make it, but we have secured second overall. We will have to see what happens tomorrow now, there is a slim chance we can take top.”
That slim chance is to try and drive reigning youth world champions Carmen and Emma Cowles of the USA to the back of the 22-boat fleet to bring their discards in to play.
The Americans have an 11-point advantage but a maximum-points UFD discard compared to the Brits’ sixth.
Also hoping discards work in her favour is Durley’s Matilda Nicholls. Two second-place finishes in the girls’ Laser Radial has left Nicholls within touching distance of the podium in sixth and with an outside chance of taking a Youth Worlds medal if final day results go her way.
In the boys’ 29er Ewan Wilson and Fin Armstrong continued their improvements with a 1,12,6 moving them up to eighth overall.
“It was a good day,” said Wilson, 15, Fife, “tight racing and we managed to get a bullet out of it. We’re looking forward to the last day now and really going out on a high.”
Their female counterparts Freya Black and Millie Aldridge also moved up the leaderboard to seventh position with a run of 5,3,9 for the day.
Dunoon’s Isaac Lines couldn’t get away from the number 11 on day four. Three 11th place finishes moved the 18-year-old up to 11th in the boys’ RS:X.
Also sitting in 11th are 420 boys Rhys Lewis and Drew Wright who moved up from 15th with third and eighth place race results.
William Smith and Abigail Clarke continue to hold 18th place in the 24-boat Nacra 15 fleet while Jake Bowhay also holds his position of 22nd in the 58-boat Laser Radial boys’ fleet.
The British Youth Sailing Team for the 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships:
Girls: Vita Heathcote (17) and Milly Boyle (17) – Royal Lymington Yacht Club
Boys: Rhys Lewis (17) and Drew Wright (17) – Cardiff Bay Yacht Club
Girls: Freya Black (17) and Millie Aldridge (17) – Parkstone Sailing Club
Boys: Ewan Wilson (15 – Wormit Boating Club) and Finley Armstrong (16 – Royal Torbay Yacht Club)
Girls: Matilda Nicholls (16) – Royal Lymington Yacht Club
Boys: Jake Bowhay (17) – Stokes Bay Sailing Club
Girls: Islay Watson (17) – Loch Insh
Boys: Isaac Lines (18) – Toward Sailing Club
William Smith (17) and Abigail Clarke (17) – Grafham Water Sailing Club
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