RYA Volvo Youth National Squad sailor Georgina Povall sealed a bronze medal at the 2012 Laser Radial Youth World Championship in a dramatic final race of the regatta in Brisbane, Australia (Wednesday 4 July).
The 18-year-old from Norfolk, who bagged a silver medal in the female fleet at the RYA Volvo Youth National Championships 2012 in April, had a consistent regatta counting five top 10 results and headed into the final two races of the regatta on Wednesday poised in fourth place, four points behind the bronze medal position.
In the penultimate race of the Championships, the Norwich High School student had battled against the elements of the strong tide and shifting breeze to post an 11th, her worst score of the Championships, which was eventually used as a discard.
But Povall produced arguably the performance of the Championship, and perhaps her sailing career to date, in the second and final race of the day, finishing the race half a leg ahead of the rest of the fleet, which was enough to claw her up to third overall by a single point.
The bronze won by Povall is the first medal for a GBR female at the Laser Radial Youth World Championship since Skandia Team GBR's Charlotte Dobson won silver back in 2004 at the same venue.
Povall, who sails at Hickling Broad Sailing Club, enthused: "I'm really pleased with my performance over the week and it makes me feel like all the training over the winter in the RYA Youth Squad and training in the gym has paid off, it's really encouraging to continue to improve my sailing. I was extremely proud to represent my country and win the bronze medal as I really wasn't expecting too. My goal was to finish in the top ten but to finish third was very exciting.
"My aim was for a top 10 finish but after the first day went well and the forecast was for light winds I really wanted to medal seen as it is my last Youth Worlds and it was my kind of sailing conditions. I was aiming for consistent top 10 finishes in every race which was quite difficult because of the shifty winds but it meant that on the last day I still had quite a low discard so I could take bigger risks to get a good last race."
The Championship was held out of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron on Moreton Bay, and welcomed 105 youth sailors from 19 different countries. The regatta served up a mix of frustrating conditions for the Youth sailors from no breeze to very light, shifty conditions resulting in a seven race series across the six day regatta.
Povall added: "The sailing conditions were quite difficult with the wind direction mostly coming over the land meaning it was very gusty, shifty light winds which was different from the windier conditions we had been training in before the regatta started. It was also very choppy because it is very shallow there and by the end of the week the tide had become quite strong meaning starting became quite difficult with big line sags."
Spurred on by her result at this event, Povall now turns her attentions towards her forthcoming summer regattas where she will aim to carry her momentum forward from winning the bronze medal.
"I am going to the Laser Nationals in Abersoch and then onto the U21 and Youth Europeans in Belgium. The U21s will be more of a learning regatta to get used to the sailing conditions and have a look at the more experienced sailors but at the Youth Europeans I can hopefully get a good result and use what I've learnt from this regatta to sail well."
Fellow RYA Volvo Youth National Squad sailors Ellie Cumptsy finished in 18th, Rheanna Pavey ended hers event in 25th. Kirsty Bonar, RYA Single Handed Pathway Racing Manager, commented: "It's been one of the toughest and most challenging regattas I've known in recent years with a combination of very light, unpredictable winds and world class competition. We only managed to race just over 50% of the scheduled races over a six day event and in light and fickle conditions that traditionally we as Brits find challenging.
"Georgina sailed an exceptional series to seal a Bronze medal, something that has not been achieved at this event by a female British sailor in eight years. One the of most impressive things about her series was the consistency that she managed to create out of highly inconsistent conditions, very impressive the way she held it together to the very last race."
Bonar concluded: "The whole team has been great to coach, I've felt very proud of the professionalism they have conducted themselves with over this event, being a long way from home, from their support network and dealing well with many unknowns shows how robust they have become as sailors over the years that we've worked with them in various classes. This is just the first event of many for this summer having just come off the back of exams for all the sailors, some are off to the Eurosafs, then the U21 Female Radial Europeans and then the Radial Youth Europeans as a target event for all at the end of August in Nieuwpoort, Belgium."
For more information on the 2012 Laser Radial Youth World Championship and for full results visit the event website<http://www.rqys.com.au/index.php/2012-world-laser-radial-youth-championship/>.
photos Janos Schmidt