Scots at the Sailing World Championships

Around 1300 Olympic and Para class sailors from across the globe travelled to The Hague, for the Sailing World Championships, at which all ten Olympic class world titles were up for grabs.

Scottish interests were varied from members of the British Sailing Team competing and medalling, to a team assisting in the race management, and even Shirley providing the commentary across the varied classes.

 

Action Images of Scottish competitors at the Sailing World Championships at the Hague.

 

Kingussie born Fynn Sterritt was sailing with James Peters in the two-man Skiff the 49er, while Anna Burnet was in the Mixed Multihull, the foiling Nacra 17, with helm John Gimson.

Both Andy Brown and Islay Watson were competing in the IQFoil Men’s and women’s categories, and with the inclusion of Para classes it was Rory McKinna with a great debut in the live medal races against the international fleet.

The results helped the British Sailing Team to finish the regatta as the only nation to win five medals at the 10-day regatta in the Dutch city. The silver for John Gimson and Anna Burnet adds to their medals they won at the Paris 2024 test event in Marseille.

The Hague, The Netheerlands is hosting the 2023 Allianz Sailing World Championships from 11th to 20th August 2023. More than 1200 sailors from 84 nations are racing across ten Olympic sailing disciplines. 107 Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition places will be awarded as well as 10 World Championship medals.Credit: Sailing Energy / World Sailing.  .17 August 2023

James Peters and Fynn Sterritt were sixth in the 49er, securing a top ten and leading British skiff. In the IQ Foil classes Andy Brown finished 26th in the men’s, with Islay Watson 23rd in the women.

The para competition, held at nearby Braassemermeer Lake, Rory McKinna narrowly missed the podium in the men’s Hansa 303 class, despite giving a thrilling medal race leading up until the very last gybe for the finish.

Action Images of Scottish competitors at the Sailing World Championships at the Hague.

Mark Robinson, RYA Performance Director, said: “It’s been a great two weeks in The Hague with the local organisers pulling together a very large and complicated event with some trying wind and tide conditions.”

“Our key aim was to qualify for Paris 2024 in as many classes as possible and we have achieved that in eight with opportunities to qualify the other two in the coming months after narrowly missing out at this event.

“Our focus now turns towards the Kite Europeans on home waters in Portsmouth next month where we will be aiming to qualify Britain for Paris 2024, while the classes in which we have already qualified will be turning their attention towards achieving Gold medal performances in Marseille next July.”

Full results from the Sailing World Championships can be found here.

Mark Laying team at the Sailing World Championships in the Hague.

Scots Officials take on the Sailing World Championships.

 

Behind the scenes at the World Championships were a team of race officials from Largs Sailing Club including Alistair Leicester, David Kent, Joe Gibson, Daryl Jarvis and Fin MacDiarmid assisting on the Nacra 17, 49er and 49erFX course. Away from the medal races the conditions in setting Olympic format course off the coast, with a 4 knot tide and in18 knots of breeze was a challenge, but a rewarding one for those who travelled out.

Mark Laying team at the Sailing World Championships in the Hague.

An event of this scale necessary pulled together by a volunteer pool drawn from Dutch clubs and a lot of international support was impressive, with a pool of nearly 450 support vessels, mainly RIB’s.  The Scots team from Largs SC enabled 15 of the races including medal races and got a great view of the racing.

 

David Kent noted, “It was complicated and challenging at times but very rewarding with a great opportunity to learn for our team. The conditions very different than we are used to with a short heavy sea and strong tides. It was a great achievement to complete the series even though we were broken by the end.”

Action Images of Scottish competitors at the Sailing World Championships at the Hague.

“Watching the Nacras foiling towards you while laying marks is certainly impressive. The younger people on the team had a great chance to see how a World Championships is run and witness the overall scale of it.”

 

Alastair Leicester, another experienced mark layer from Largs said,  “It was a great opportunity for learning, with difficult conditions such as intermittent digital radios, ribs with no hand holds or strong point for towing and a huge (4knt) tidal flow making for really difficult conditions to operate in, let alone lay marks. Driving downwind in 16knts wind to hold station takes some getting used to. Similarly streaming marks downwind was an unusual experience.”

 

Mark Laying team at the Sailing World Championships in the Hague.

“It was also great to try out a new (to me) brand of robot marks – a really intuitive system for setting courses but needed the backup of being able to lay the course manually when it failed (which it did a lot – batteries not charging, struggling in the tide etc).”

“Fantastic to watch sailors close up performing at such a high level, the skill displayed was incredible, if a little scary when signalling a course change in the middle of the gate while catamarans foil past you. It was also great to work with a multinational team on our course, we have our Dutch hosts, French, German, Greeks and Scots all working together. Thankfully all talking in English! A huge thanks has to go to the host venue whose staff and volunteers were always positive and helpful.”

Darryl Jarvis, another member of group added. “The team we took out there and the team on our course were good and we all developed really strong relationships to get the event delivered despite a number of challenges.  Not for the feint of heart though! We were able rely on the experience we’ve gained at a range of major events at our club and in Scotland. It’s nice to know that you can start helping at a local club and end up at the pinnacle of the sport! Largs in particular sets high standards and has been good at recognising and managing volunteers and provides good training for its people.”

It is great to get some insights at such a major event and to gain some perspective from the teams. Well done to all the volunteers involved.

Have you ever considered becoming a race official and enabling a wide range of racing from club to international level?

Find out more and look out for future opportunities as a RYA Race official on the RYA Running Racing pages.

 Questions can be answered by emailing RaceOfficials@rya.org.uk

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