Seaford star sailor Alex picks up a Sussex Sports Award

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NEWHAVEN and Seaford Sailing Club’s Alex Mills-Barton picked up the Sussex Young Sports Personality Award at the Sussex Sports Awards held at the Brighton Metropole Hotel on Friday night.

The 20-year-old from Seaford has had an amazing year after being selected to join the team GB’s Olympic Sailing Squad, winning the National Youth Championships, European Youth Championships and picking up Silver at the World Junior Championships in La Rochelle.

Earlier in the year he was chosen to receive the prestigeous Marlow Ropes Award as the squad’s top rookie and he would also have added the UK Senior title to his 2011 successes had he been able to compete on the final day.

Alex has just arrived in Freemantle, Australia to represent Great Britain as part of an elite team including Olympic Gold medalists Ben Ainslie, Paul Goodison, Ian Percy and Andrew Simpson to comptete at the ISAF World Sailing Championships.

The Championships are only held every four years in the year preceeding the Olympics and are the qualification event for countries participation at the 2012 Olympic Games, it will be the biggest competition he has competed in to date and just making the team has been a major success.

Back at the club, it was another fantastic weekend of sailing at Pidinghoe for the fourth of the Iceberg series, strong gusty winds making for another day of exciting racing with thrills and spills throughout for both sailors and spectators.

Three Lasers, two standards and a radial contested the lead from start to finish Paul Ryan, Rupert Smith and Jonty Freeman swapped positions throughout the race, a vocal contest between Ryan and Smith made for colourfull mark rounding as each tried to gain an edge.

The weather took its toll on the less experienced, Nathan Bloss had a breakage on his Laser and had to be towed to shore, followed a lap later by the youngest on the water Josh Smith in a Topper after losing his dagger board in a capsize.

Two laps from the end Jonty took advantage of the Smith/Ryan battle to sail his Radial into the lead, a further retirement towards the end for the Laser 2 of Jack Turner and James Bovington reduced the fleet even further.

At the finish Jonty had opened up a considerable gap at the front to take line honours, with Rupert Smith coming out on top in his battle with Paul Ryan to finish second and third respectively.