Despite just missing the Volvo Nations Trophy at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF Worlds British sailors took home four medals including gold

Poor visibility put paid to the one scheduled final race of the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship today in Busan, Korea. The tension ashore in the boat park was finally relieved just after midday when racing was cancelled.

As the flags rose to signal the end of the regatta, the biggest celebration was for the USA’s Paige Railey whose second ISAF Youth World Championship title was secured. Railey, who also won the girls singlehander in Madeira in 2003 and was third in 2002, admitted she was more excited than nervous at the prospect of a final race decider in which she would have had to account for her Chinese rival Xu Lijia who was just five points behind her in second.

“I had a strategy and was looking forward to it, just not letting her out of my sight, but I am so pleased. I have been really concentrating on just staying focussed this week and trying as hard as I can, and getting back on it if things were not so good and I have managed that so I am delighted.” Said Railey who sails year round from the Clearwater Yacht Club in Florida, and has already won this new Olympic class at the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes regatta, the US Midwinters at her home club, the Princess Sophia Trophy in Palma Mallorca and finished second at Kiel Week.

Railey’s long term target is a medal at the 2008 Olympic regatta in Qingdao, at which the prevailing conditions are expected to be not dissimilar to Suyong Bay here, but she refuses to take anything too much from her success here:

“It is a long time in the future and really at the moment my goal is just to get as good as I can and get more confidence from that. I am training to go there and that is my goal at the moment. Here it was important to get good starts all of the time and go the right way, and usually I managed that. In the near future I think the standard in this class is only going to get better as the girls from the Europe class (the previous Olympic women’s single-hander class) come in and get better.”

The growing strengths of the Asian nations was underlined in the 420 boys class where Wee Chin Teo and Terence Koh won the first ever Youth Worlds gold medal for Singapore, only their second ever medal after the 2001 silver for Junhao Tay and Dahui Ou. Cancellation today preserved their four points margin over Japan’s Waturo Saito and Hiroto Yoshinaga.

“We are really pleased. This will mean an awful lot for sailing at home in our country. We were quite confident to go sailing today and to have won, because the worst we could have done is finish second. We only had to finish less than four places behind the Japanese.” Said helm Teo, who finished fifth at the Optimist world champs in Qingdao in 2001, “It is consistency which wins regattas and that was what was important for us here. We had a disqualification in the first race and a 15th in the second and then we were just consistent from there. Our lesson from last time – when we were eighth – was never give up.”

The battle between the nations which are traditionally strongest, France and Great Britain, went the way of the French again as they win the Volvo Trophy for the best team for the second successive year and ninth time since 1991. France aggregated 332 points to Britain’s 283 points. As well as the girls 420 gold which was decided yesterday, the French won three silver medals: in the Laser Boys for Jean Baptiste Bernaz, in the Mistral Boys for Pierre Lecoq and Mistral girls for Anne Sophie Le Page and a bronze in the Hobie 16 catamaran.

After winning two golds and three bronze medals last year in Poland the British medal tally this time is cut to four medals.

Team GBR’s gold medallist in the Laser class, Giles Scott, admitted he did not get much sleep last night, fretting over his one-point cushion which he had earned over France’s Jean Baptiste Bernaz.

“The important thing here for me has been consistency. That meant I had the options today to do what I needed to do and not worry too much because I didn’t have a bad score, but it certainly feels good not to have to race.” Said Scott, who has sailed against and with his compatriot Nick Thompson who won this world title last year since they started sailing Laser Radials together.

“You do kind of think you should have a good chance if he won it last time, but then you never really know what the standard is going to be.” Said Scott who finished third in the Laser Radial European and the world championships, and is currently ranked third on the UK Laser National Ladder, and 160 in the world in the Laser.

One point was also all that separated last year’s winners, Britain’s Tom Phipps and Jon Cook in the Hobie 16 class. Commenting on the standard of racing Phipps commented:

“The standard through the fleet has increased. Last time there were really only two or three boats who were on the pace, but this time it was easy to make a mistake and end up with a seventh. It was so important to get a good start and get the first windshift right.”

Britain’s bronze medals came in the 420 Boys class with Tom Mallindine and James Clark, and in the Laser Radial class with Alison Young.

Overall Results

Volvo Nations Trophy

1. France – 332 points

2. Great Britain – 283

3. Spain – 277

4. USA – 246

5. Italy – 225

6. China – 194

7. Germany – 179

8. Australia – 172

9. Brazil – 154

10. Poland – 152

Mistral Girls: 1. BM Dominguez (ESP) 14 pts, 2. AS Le Page (FRA) 20 pts, 3. L Linares (ITA) 23pts, 4. M Davidovich (ISR) 25 pts, 5. C Chun (CHN) 42 points

Mistral Boys: 1. L Grodzicki (POL) 13 pts, 2. P Lecoq (FRA) 29 points, 3. J.Moreno (ESP) 33 pts, 4..N Mashiah (ISR) 36 pts 5. A Sofroniou (CYP) 39 pts

420 Girls: 1. M Lumeau, C Bossard (FRA) 10 pts, 2. M Magill, B Provancha (USA) 30 pts, 3. M Basilio, G Biekarck (BRA) 31 pts, 4. H Mills, P Webster (GBR) 34 pts5. T. Pacheco, M. Padron (ESP) 42 pts

420 Boys: 1. WC Teo, T Koh (SIN) 26 pts, 2. W Saito, H Yoshinaga (JPN) 30 points, 3. T Mallindine, J Clark (GBR) 48 pts, 4. A.Roberts, N. Martin (USA) 52 pts, 5. T. Silva, F Gomes (POR) 53 pts

Hobie 16: 1. Walker, E Langford (AUS) 21 pts, 2. T Phipps, J Cook (GBR) 22 pts 3. J Villion, M Bataille (FRA) 22 pts 4. JI Maegli, AC Guirola (GUA) 24 pts 5. V Bissaro, L Lejari (ITA) 36 pts

Laser Boys: 1. G.Scott (GBR) 29pts, 2. JB Bernaz (FRA) 30 pts 3. R Van Schaardenburg (NED) 36 pts, 4. B McLay (NZL) 43 pts, 5. R Weber (USA) 55 pts

Laser Girls: 1. P Railey (USA) 17 pts, 2. X Lijia (CHN) 22 pts, 3. A. Young (GBR) 37 pts, 4. T Mihelic (CRO) 52 points, 5. AH Lindberg (DEN) 58 points