Hannah Mills and Katrina Hughes hold nerve to win the 470 Junior World Championship in Poland

Hannah Mills and Katrina Hughes held their nerve in style to sail to 2008 Women’s 470 Junior World Championship gold in Poland yesterday (Tuesday 29 July).

With an eight-point advantage over their nearest rivals Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos (SPA) going into the double points medal race at Gdynia, the Skandia Team GBR Development Squad duo knew they had to finish no more than three boats behind the Spaniards in the final showdown to seal victory.

Having got off the start well, 20-year-old Mills and Hughes, 18, had a nervy few moments during the last run as the fleet bunched at the final leeward mark leaving every boat jostling furiously for position. But after managing to negotiate that challenge, Mills and Hughes took second to the Spaniards’ fifth to claim the overall title by 14 points.

An overjoyed Mills said: “We didn’t care where we came in the medal race as long as we stayed ahead of the Spanish girls. At the start of the event we didn’t really know what to expect but after a couple of races we knew we could do well and because we knew it would be close at the end of the week we just concentrated on finishing as high up the fleet as we could in every race. I don’t think we expected to win seven races in a row though!”

“All week we were quite good at getting off the start line and getting the first shift, we were picking the gusts and the rest of the fleet tended to follow. Downwind was a bit harder but I think our upwind speed was one of the strengths of our week.”

In total all three British boats made the medal race and secured top 10 finishes overall, Claire Walsh and Jasmine Husband taking 8th, and Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth 10th.