BUDDING sailors have been visited by two Olympic silver medallists from Team GB at the RYA Youth National Championships.
Hannah Mills and Nick Dempsey both won silver on the waters of Weymouth and Portland in the 2012 Olympics and returned to the scene of their triumph to offer words of encouragement and advice at the championships yesterday.
The five-day event is the premier event on the annual Youth Racing calendar and is an event which Mills won herself in the 420 girls event in 2005.
Mills’ Youth Nationals victory provided a springboard on to her medal success at Youth World Championship level that year, which was the platform which saw her qualify into the British Sailing Team’s Olympic Development Squad and the start of her journey in the 470 class towards Olympic glory.
Mills said: “I have great memories of the RYA Youth National Championships, obviously the one which I won and was selected to represent Great Britain at the ISAF Youth Worlds which was amazing.
“I just remember having a great week, the competition is always really tight and the racing is such great fun.
“It’s great to be down here today to watch the country’s best youth sailors and to try and inspire the next generation of Olympic hopefuls.” As well as crowning the RYA Youth National Champion 2014, the event doubles up as a selection event for the British Youth Sailing Team set to compete at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, which take place in Portugal in July.
Ms Mills also gave words of encouragement to the sailors that were unsuccessful at the championships.
She added: “Winning is great but it’s not everything for a young sailor. Plenty of successful sailors have not won the Youth Nationals but gone on to achieve great things.
“In my final year I didn’t win the Youth Nationals and at the time it was disastrous but that then spurred me on to make the most of the summer regattas, to come back stronger which then led to me be selected for the Olympic Development Squad.
“The main thing is to just enjoy your racing, have fun with your friends and to make the most of such well-run regattas.”