The Isle of Wight’s very own Toby Atherton competed in the 29er European Championship in Helsinki, Finland earlier this month.
17-year-old Toby, who trains at Gurnard Sailing Club, was selected to represent the RYA’s Youth Squad in Europe following his success in the Youth National Championships in Scotland earlier this year.
Varied conditions faced Toby and his sailing partner Henry Jameson throughout the event from random chop, ferries barging through the fleet and rogue rocks in the middle of the course. But that didn’t stop the duo qualifying high in the gold fleet.
Unfortunately, the dinghy suffered some damage during racing which dropped Toby and Henry back a few places to finish 22nd overall, which is not what was hoped for. That said it was a strong placing out of the 137 boats competing.
Shortly before jetting off to Finland, Atherton competed in the National Championships across the Solent at Hayling Island.
The first day of competition was too windy to sail which gave the teen time to relax and prepare for the tough week ahead. Day 2 was also very windy and conditions presented huge waves, but the race committee managed to squeeze in 2 races before they decided to cancel the action.
Despite the rather shortened days, Toby secured 2x 3rd places and stayed consistent through the week to place 5th overall.
Toby has said:
“My thanks to Wightlink for their continued support. It ensures we can travel to these amazing places and compete against the top sailors in the World”.
Wightlink supports a range of sporting organisations on the Island – as well as individuals through the council’s talented athlete scheme.