Crewsaver,Warsash 2014Over the May bank holiday weekend, 11-year-old Isle of Wight Optimist sailor, Haydn Sewell, competed in the Optimist selection trials and secured himself a place in the British Team that will compete in the European Championships in Dun Laoghaire,  Ireland, this summer.

The selection trials were held at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy over four days, where Haydn was racing against the top 82 optimist sailors in the country,  aged up to 15-years-old, battling it out for places in the British Worlds, European and Development Teams.

Over the four days, 13 races were sailed with sailors spending up to 9 hours a day on the water. A mix of very light to winds up to 16kts meant sailors were tested and had to be able to race well in all conditions.

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Having set his sights on a Europeans Team place going in to the event things didn’t go quite according to plan for Haydn at the start when in the third race he was over the line too early and was disqualified, taking maximum points. Despite this set back, Haydn showed a tremendous level of calm and maturity taking a cautious approach to starting and using his boat speed and tactics to score a series of good results and climb the leader board.

Going into the final day, Haydn was lying in 13th, occupying the last Europeans Team spot. In a determined and controlled day of sailing, Haydn scored his best results of the selection trials regatta with a 13th, 8th, 7th and a 3rd to finish in 8th place overall, the highest ranked for his age group, securing him an automatic spot in the British Team.

Commenting on his success Haydn said:

“I’m so excited to be part of Team GBR and going to the European Championships. As I was part of the Development Team that went to the Bodrum International Regatta in Turkey last year, moving up a team was what I wanted to do this year.

“The last day of the selection trials was probably the best days sailing I’ve ever had. I’m very lucky to be supported by the Royal London Yacht Club Youth Trust, Isle of Wight Talented Athlete programme, Wightlink, Crewsaver and North Sails who have helped me with all my sailing.  My school, Christ the King, have been really supportive too.

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“I can’t wait for the European Championships and to race against so many top sailors from around the World.”

Along with the Championships themselves, Haydn will travel over to Dun Laoghaire with the Team at half term for a week of training and take part in a number of weekend training sessions.

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