WINDSURFER Islay Watson has been named alongside 14 of Great Britain’s most promising young sailors to represent their country at the Youth Sailing World Championships after finishing runner-up at the RS:X Youth Nationals.

Watson, who trains at the Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy, is among a group of talented youngsters, all aged 18 or under, who will represent the British Youth Sailing Team in nine classes at the prestigious regatta being held in Corpus Christi, Texas, from July 14-21 this year.

The sailors picked for the team were singled out for their performances in the 29er, 420, Nacra 15, and Laser Radial dinghies plus the RS:X windsurfer at select regattas including the recent RYA Youth National Championships.

Previous Youth Worlds winners include some of Britain’s greatest sailors such as the world’s most decorated Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie and and 2008 Beijing gold medallist Pippa Wilson.

Among those selected for the 2018 team is 29er helm Ewan Wilson, the youngest in the team at just 14 years old.

Sailing with 16-year-old crew Finlay Armstrong, Wilson is looking forward to challenging himself in new surroundings.

Wilson said: “It’s going to be amazing to sail outside of Europe,

“I’ve heard the winds are really good in America as well so I’m excited.

“It’s also exciting to be part of a big sailing team because we only usually sail as individuals or as a pair.”

Vita Heathcote, 16, the 420 girls representative added: “I’ve never sailed in America before so I’m really excited about that.”

Helm Heathcote, who will sail with crew Milly Boyle, is also relishing the chance to show her maturity off the water in the USA.

Heathcote said: “I think that we will feel more as part of a team around the boat park as our parents won’t be there - that means we have to deal with everything between ourselves.

“It’s a chance for us to show our independence. It’s going to be great to mix with new people, not just from other classes but from other countries too which is really exciting.”

In typical RS:X style, boys representative Isaac Lines was not short of excitement at the news of his selection.

Lines, 18, said “So, so happy to be selected. I’m just excited to get some extra training in, test myself against the best in the world and see what I can bring home.”

Lines added: “It’s a complete honour to represent my country at a major event like the Worlds.”

Matilda Nichols (RLymYC) and Jake Bowhay (Stokes Bay Sailing Club) will contest the Laser Radial class, and the girls’ 29er spot goes to Freya Black and Millie Aldridge (Parkstone Yacht Club).

Rhys Lewis and Drew Wright (Cardiff Bay Yacht Club) were picked in the boys’ 420 class while William Smith and Abigail Clarke (Grafham Water Sailing Club) will race the Nacra 15 multihull.

Mark Nicholls, the RYA’s Youth Racing Manager said: “With the timing of the Youth Worlds this year it was a great opportunity for us to select in-form sailors.

“Our Youth Nationals is always a great indicator of who will represent the team at an international level anyway, but this year it was even more important to us.

“All the sailors we selected were top in their age group. Congratulations to all the sailors who have been selected.”