Bryony off to World Championships in Cyprus
- Credit: Marc Turner
Norwich sailor Bryony Bennett-Lloyd is about to embark on the biggest week of her sailing career to date as she jets off to Cyprus tomorrow to represent RYA Volvo Team Great Britain at the pinnacle event of the youth sailing calendar – the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships.
The event, which lasts from July 13-20, is the 43rd edition of the championship. It is seen by many as the 'Youth Olympics' for sailing and has over the years identified talented sailors such as multiple Olympic gold medallists Ben Ainslie, Sarah Ayton and Iain Percy.
Bennett-Lloyd, 18, a member of Hickling Broad Sailing Club, will be among the 12-strong RYA Volvo Team GB squad looking to make their mark at the annual regatta in Limassol when racing starts on Monday.
'It was a fantastic feeling when I was selected,' she said. 'After having worked towards it for two and a half years it is incredible that we are now actually going to the ISAF Youth Worlds representing Great Britain. It is a real honour. The standard of British sailing is really high.'
The Norwich High School student, along with Annabel Cattermole from Welwyn Garden City, earned selection for the female double-handed 420 dinghy berth in Cyprus after winning the RYA Youth National.
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'The week of the Championships was really tough, the racing was very close, the wind was pretty shifty but we kept focussed and delivered a consistent series to be comfortably ahead of the next girl boat and achieve a good result by the end of the week,' she explained.
'We have been working on our fitness, and getting on the water as often as we can in between studying for our A-levels. We have been working on our starting in particular, as well as our speed on the reach.
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'We have also been spending time getting to know the set-up that we will have to sail with for the event so that we can have an edge on our competition by knowing how to make it go fast, it's all about 'controlling the controllables!'
The 420 sailor has competed in many events over the years whilst being involved in the RYA Youth Racing programme, including European and International regattas.
But she admits the ISAF Youth Worlds is like no other event.
'The event will be a fantastic experience and opportunity, completely different to our class world championships or Europeans with only one boat from each country and having all the other youth classes there too,' she said.
'One of the biggest changes will be having boats supplied that we have to 'build' from scratch which is likely to take time to make sure we have it set up the best we can with what they give us.
Each of the eight classes will have 12 races. Over 360 of the world's top Olympic hopefuls will be taking part across 250 boats from 61 nations.