BEN Whaley has won European bronze at the Laser Radial Youth European Championships, Gydnia, Poland.

British Youth Sailing’s Whaley started his week with a bullet on day one, mastering the light and challenging conditions.

As the regatta progressed to a gold and silver fleet split, Whaley continued to push the front of the fleet and work his way up to finish fourth overall and third European.

Whaley, from Swanage, concluded the 10-race series with second place to finish on equal points with Greek European silver medallist Dimitris Papadimitriou, agonisingly losing out on countback.

“It’s a challenging venue, with shifty winds meaning there was some interesting racing. Going into gold fleet I was eighth so that put me in a strong position, and I just kept it consistent.

“I had one bad race but managed to discard that, despite some tricky conditions,” said 18-year-old Whaley.

The final day of racing saw sailors greeted by winds of 25 knots, but Whaley kept his cool.

He added: “Falling out of the back of the boat when on the tow was one of week’s highlights,” laughed Whaley, “But the last day was crazy. The breezy sailing was great fun, massive waves, awesome conditions.”

An elated Whaley reflected on his medal win: “It feels amazing, I didn’t expect to be in the medals after my results on the penultimate day of racing, and then I overtook last year’s European Champion, it’s just brilliant. I was unlucky to lose out on the silver medal by countback, but I’m over the moon, I really am.”

Whaley will now aim for the podium at the Laser Radial World Championships Medemblik, Netherlands, which commences next month (August 13-18).