TEAM leader James Gray has praised his British Youth Sailing Team charges for their attitude and resilience as ‘tricky’ Youth Sailing World Championships racing passed the half way mark in Sanya, China.

Emma Wilson, defending champion in the RS:X Girls windsurfing event, is tied on points at the top of the leaderboard after three days of competition, with her young British teammates showing composure amid testing conditions in the first half of the week to sit in top ten positions in five other events out of the nine contested at the Hainan venue.

The 14 GBR talents are among 374 sailors from 60 nations competing in China this week.

Laser Radial sailor Ben Whaley and the 420 Girls pairing of Hatty Morsley-Pippa Cropley are currently fifth in their respective classes, with Andy Brown up to sixth in the RS:X Boys windsurfing event.

Bella Fellows-Anna Sturrock, who received a last-minute call up to the event following an injury withdrawal, have progressed to seventh place in the 29er Girls event, with the help of a second and a race win from their three races on Wednesday. 

Daisy Collingridge is in eighth place in the Laser Radial Girls event, while the British Youth Sailing Team crews in the Nacra 15, 420 Boys and 29er Boys events will be aiming for a positive final two days of their Championships after a difficult opening half. 

Benno Marstaller-Chloe Collenette enjoyed their best day of the regatta so far on Wednesday to see them into 14th place in the Nacra 15 multihull discipline. 420 Boys' duo Alex Smallwood-Ross Thompson and 29er Boys pairing Nick Robins-Billy Vennis-Ozanne are in 18th and 19th places respectively.

“It has been pleasing to see the sailors continue to chip away in their respective classes,” Team Leader Gray explained.  “We currently sit in silver medal position in the Girl’s RS:X, tied on points at the top with Italy, and are within touching distance of medals in a number of other classes.”

“Today we had a better day across all the classes, and this is testament to the sailors’ ability to continue to learn and make adjustments after each race.”

“Racing has been very tricky during the first half of the regatta,” Gray continued.  “The outcomes of the races in general have been down to pressure differences where the leading boats have done the better job of linking pressure together and staying in it. Consistency has been key and making sure that you are continually executing the basics, like getting a good start, has been critical.”

Gray insists there’s plenty of drama still to take place on the Sanya waters right up until the final race on Friday (December 15).

“The breeze is forecast to increase in the next two days which will suit our team. In a one discard event anything can happen and we will be encouraging the team to continue to chip away and learn until the end of the Championships.”