Image: Robert Hajduk/RS:X Class
Saskia Sills posted her best ever RS:X world championship finish claiming ninth place in Torbole, Italy, as Andy Brown and Emma Wilson picked up silverware in the under 21 category.
Sills, 22, pictured above, capitalised on a strong start to the regatta and after four days of intense racing went into the medal race in sixth as the only Brit guaranteed a top ten finish.
A penalty for colliding with Hong Kong’s Hayley Chan Hei-man put Sills at the back of the race and she crossed the line in tenth to take ninth overall in the 106-strong women’s fleet.
It continues a string of top results for the former youth world champion including a silver at the World Cup Series finals in Marseille in June.
Despite admitting disappointment at not finishing higher inside the top ten, Sills said she was delighted to have notched up a world championship personal best.
“It’s been a really tough week tactically and I was really happy with how I’ve sailed this week in unusual Lake Garda conditions,” said Sills, from Launceston, Cornwall.
“Initially I was a bit gutted because I went into the medal race one place off fifth place. I felt like that one medal race didn’t do my whole week justice.
“On reflection though I had this moment at the prize giving I had this realisation that I’d just come ninth out of the world’s best sailors.
“I’m very proud of this result, and very honoured to be have been on the start line. I know I need to work on my medal races but that’s another learning opportunity for me. My target is to be fighting for medal in at the 2020 world championships in Auckland in February.”
Meanwhile Andy Brown (above, second from left) went one better than the under 21 bronze he picked up at the 2019 European championships as he finished runner up, and an impressive 16th overall.
Brown, 20, from Glasgow, said: “I’m super happy – I was two points off finishing in the top 15 and that’s a massive improvement from last year.
“I’ve made big gains since the Europeans, which was a very well-attended event. There were even more top athletes at the worlds so to come home 16th is great.
“The standard was so high because it was either an Olympic qualification event, a selection regatta or simply just the world championships the year before the Games. I’m really happy.”
Senior athlete Tom Squires narrowly missed out on the medal race by two points, coming home 11th. Team mates Kieran Holmes-Martin and Matt Barton came home 47th and 63rd.
In the women’s fleet Wilson started strongly but some high-scoring races on the final two days saw her miss out on the medal race by four points.
She finished 12th overall but claimed the bronze medal in the under 21 fleet behind Israel’s Katy Spychakov and Italy’s Gio Speciale.
“It was a tricky week with lots of different conditions,” said Wilson, from Christchurch, Dorset. “I felt like I sailed pretty well. A few mistakes ended up costing me a lot but in a way I think it’s good, it just make me want to train really hard.
“I just couldn’t quite work out the shifts on the final day where we had three races which ended up being three out of the four races we only had in gold fleet.
“I’m still very happy to get third under 21 as the level in under 21s is super high.”
Britain’s Alysia Gibson, 18, finished 33rd in her first senior world championships outing, while Bryony Shaw was 53rd and Islay Watson was 73rd.
Results from the regatta can be found here.
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