Princess Anne attending RYA Youth National Championships this afternoon

Dorset Echo: PORTLAND VISIT: Princess Anne at the sailing academy PORTLAND VISIT: Princess Anne at the sailing academy

YOUNG sailors are showcasing their talents in front of a royal audience today.

Princess Anne is visiting Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy to watch the penultimate day's action of the RYA Youth National Championships.

The Princess Royal is president of the Royal Yachting Association.

Princess Anne arrived at the Academy at noon, and was introduced to a number of staff.

She was taken up onto the veranda where she spoke with James Tilley, RYA Operations Manager.

He said: "She was quite interested in the event: how many competitors we've got, the number of race courses, where the race courses were positioned.

"We got into a more general discussion about sports nutrition and the sport science side of it. We had quite a long chat, which was good.

"We focused quite a lot about the academy and how this building is used, when it's used, how good it is for an event like this.

"She's been here a few times before. It's fantastic for our sport to have Princess Anne involved and she does a lot for us."

The Princess Royal was taken out to sea and spent the afternoon looking at the different race courses, as well as the different classes.

James added: "She would have had quite a good view on the helicopter on the way over."

Annette Staples-Jones travelled to the event to watch her son, Gareth, aged 16, to take part in the laser radial class.

She said: "We've travelled down from Manchester. There are people here from Scotland.

"It's nice that somebody as important as the Princess Royal can come and take part and show that the competitors are valued."

The championships have been running since Monday and will come to an end tomorrow.

Throughout the week, young sailors have had the chance to impress a number of the British Sailing Team’s London 2012 Olympic medallists.

On Tuesday, Hannah Mills and Nick Dempsey, Olympic silver medallists for Team GB returned to the scene of their success.

They offered budding sailors advice and encouragement.

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.

Sarah Gosling is among this year’s panel of RYA selectors. Sarah progressed through the youth ranks to represent Great Britain twice at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in the Laser Radial class.

She then went on to win consecutive gold medals at Athens and Beijing.

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