Pindar are to sponsor 15-year-old Hannah Mills for a 420 campaign, joining Emma Richards on their sailing team. Andrew Pindar talked to Elaine Bunting about the decision
Young British sailor Hannah Mills is to be sponsored by Pindar, the British print and electronic media company that have propelled the career of Emma Richards. The decision is part of a plan to create an all-women sailing team racing under Pindar colours.
Hannah, 15, was last year’s Yachting Journalists’ Association Young Sailor of Year, after winning the Optimist Nationals in a class of 120 and becoming the highest placed Briton in the Worlds, both famously competitive mixed fleets.
Since then Hannah, who is from Cardiff, has moved to 420s, and Pindar’s four-year sponsorship deal will help take her to the Worlds in Melbourne next year and possibly onwards to a future Olympic Games. Pindar have bought her a second 420, which can be used for training while the other boat is being shipped to events, and are providing financial help for extra coaching and campaign costs.
Andrew Pindar, chairman of the company, explained their choice and sponsorship strategy to us:
“I think Hannah is the most talented sailor of her generation. She’s got incredible aptitude, determination, drive and commitment,” he says. “We spotted in her a lot of the characteristics we saw in Emma.
“The idea is Emma is coming up to the top of her career and Hannah is at the beginning. But we’ll take a very delicate touch with Hannah. We don’t want to make any demands on her that take away from her schooling. It’s very non-commercial. She may decide sailing is not for her, so we also want to have someone else in our programme in the middle and to come through the ranks. We want to make it attractive to someone to sail within the team and if they qualify to sail the Open 60.”
An announcement about the selection of a third woman for the Pindar team will be made early next year.
Asked about the policy of supporting only women sailors, he replies: “I think we’ve become known for sponsoring women in sailing and I think we’ve done well from sponsoring them. What Emma represents is aspects of her personality and behaviour that are the best aspects of our company.
“What’s so important to us is that you can get some muscle-bound, strapping teenager but we’re much happier when people are able to apply intelligence and skill. To me that’s more represented by how women conduct themselves in sailing. But we’re not proposing to create a harem of women!”