Norwich schoolgirl on top of the sailing world

Cattermole and Bryony Bennett-Lloyud

Cattermole and Bryony Bennett-Lloyud - Credit: Archant

Norwich sailor Bryony Bennett-Lloyd and her sailing partner Annabel Cattermole have turned their summer into a golden one by securing the Ladies' 420 World title in Valencia.

Cattermole and Bryony Bennett-Lloyud

Cattermole and Bryony Bennett-Lloyud - Credit: Archant

Bennett-Lloyd, 18, from Hickling Broad Sailing Club, and her helm Cattermole, 17, from St Albans, recently finished 12th at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Cyprus.

But they moved on to reign in Spain following a modest start to their class, harbouring a top 10 position at the halfway stage of the regatta.

After three days of racing at the Real Club Náutico Valencia the fleets were split, with the best sailors pooled together in the gold fleet, which is when the GBR sailors came into their own. Revelling in the increase of breeze of 22 knots on day four of the regatta, consistency was the key for the GBR duo posting scores of 2-4 to take over the top of the leaderboard which was held since day one by Carlotta Omari/Francesca Russo Cirillo of Italy.

Heading into the final two races of the regatta on Tuesday, with a 12-point cushion over their nearest rivals from Italy, Cattermole and Bennett-Lloyd, managed to offset a lacklustre result of 27th in the first race with a race win in the second on the penultimate day, sealed the world title with a fourth place finish in the final race of the Championship.


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'It feels fantastic,' said Norwich High School student Bennett-Lloyd. 'We have been working towards this for the past three years and to actually achieve a world title is just incredible. I don't think it has quite sunk in yet. It just doesn't feel quite real that we have actually won and are World Champions – we are just so happy.

'Going into the final race of the regatta we knew we needed a top ten to win and a top 20 to finish on the podium, so we entered the race like we have done all the other races, trying to sail like we have been doing and do what we have been doing.

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'We rounded the first mark in first and were actually winning all the way round until the last run. We dropped back a few into fourth but crossed the finish line knowing we had done it!'

'The conditions have been really nice and really varied. On the last day we had some nice light winds whereas other days we had some strong breeze, which we really enjoy. The key has been our consistency as well as our boat speed, which has been good all week and allowed us to control the fleet at times and sail at the top.'

Coming into the regatta off the back of the Youth Worlds, the Team GBR representatives were confident they could achieve a podium finish.

'This event is a different sort of event to the ISAF Youth Worlds,' said Bennett-Lloyd. 'There are a lot more 420 sailors who you compete against with the standard still extremely high and the age limit also higher at this event. Both events are great in their own way although the ISAF Youth Worlds was such a great experience and we certainly learned a huge amount out in Cyprus which we took forwards into this event.

'Coming into the event we weren't too sure what our aims were. We were hoping that one of the regattas this summer would have our names on it though, so obviously we have taken this one and have now got the Junior Euros in two weeks so we will see how that goes.'

There is no break for Bennett-Lloyd, whose next stop is La Rochelle in France to sail the Olympic class 470 for the first time as stand-in crew for British Sailing Team's Anna Burnet at the 470 World Championships, starting on 5 August.

'It was quite a surprise when I was asked,' she said. 'I've never sailed a 470 before as it's an Olympic class but I'm really looking forward to it, I'm a little nervous but I'm sure it's going to be a great experience and I can't wait to get out there and learn all I can from Anna.'

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