Some of the UK's best young sailors gear up for next week's RYA Youth National Champs and Trials 5/4/06

From Monday 10 April some of the best of the UK’s young sailors will go head to head for glory, gold and Great Britain at the RYA Youth National Championships and Trials.

Hosted by the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA), this will be the first major event to see aspiring London 2012 Olympians competing at the Olympic sailing venue.

The event is open to all young sailors across the country and is used as the final part of the selection process to gain a place in the prestigious RYA National Youth Squad. The event will also determine who will go on to represent Great Britain at the 2006 Volvo ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships which will also be hosted on home waters at WPNSA from the 13-21 July.

Racing will take place the Laser, Laser Radial, 29er, Hobie16, 420 and the RS:X windsurfer. With over 250 boats and up to 350 sailors from around the UK, all under 18 years of age, this event will show case the brightest of Britain’s young sailing stars.

The Laser Radial class sees the most entries with 112 boats signed up to compete on what will become Olympic waters. Hailing from Gwynedd, Wales, 17 year old Sarah Williams is the hot favourite to win the girls’ fleet while David Jessop, 17 from Bedfordshire and Adam Fox, 17 from Buckinghamshire are one’s to watch in the boy’s fleet

The Laser fleet boasts a selection of young Olympic hopefuls. Mudeford sailor Max Holloway, 17, and James Royston, 17, from Kent will focus on finishing at the front of the fleet; however, Welsh sailor, Dominic Breen-Turner, 16 and Bedfordshire’s Evan Scott, also 16, will be quick to catch their competitors out on the race course.

Hobie16 sailors Tom Phipps and Jon Cook will be trying to achieve their third consecutive medal at the Volvo ISAF Youth World Sailing Championships but to achieve this goal they must first do well at the RYA Youth National Championships and Trials. Members of Skandia Team GBR’s Olympic Development Squad, the Cornish 17 year-olds are strong favourites to win at this event.

A host of talented sailors will compete in the 420 fleet. In the girl’s fleet, 18 year-olds Hannah Mills, from Wales and Peggy Webster from Oxford will go head to head with Hampshire’s Sophie Weguelin, 16 and Essex’s Katrina Hughes, 16. Also competing in the Radial is 2005 420 Bronze World Medallists, Maria Stanley,17, hailing from Oxford paired with Catherine Alton, also 17, from Birmingham.

The Ellis brothers from Plymouth will make a run for a gold medal in the boy’s 420 fleet. With 16 year-old James helming and 18 year-old Dan crewing, the pair will have to fend off competition from the Richard Mason-Daniel Scheiber pairing hailing from Lymington and Berkshire respectively. Poole’s David Brewer, 16, and his crew, Oren Richards, 17, from Lymington, will also put in a good fight to finish at the top.

With their sights set on being crowned Youth National Champion in the 29er, Leicestershire’s Dylan Fletcher and Cheshire’s Rob Partridge, 18 and 17 respectively, will try to out-wit and out-sail their competitors. Also marked to do well at the event are 17 year-olds Huw Humphreys and Max Todd from Anglesey, Wales.

The RS:X windsurfing fleet sees the smallest number of entries and a surge in new talent. Richard Hamilton, 16, from North Lincolnshire is one to keep an eye on in the boy’s fleet, while in the girl’s fleet the top slot could belong to any one of the girls entered.

Racing starts on Monday 10 April and continues through to Friday 14 April.