Ardingly College student bids for glory at world youth sailing finals

An Ardingly College student is among 16 of the country’s most promising young sailors taking on the world’s best at this week’s Youth Sailing World Championships.

The GB team for the youth world sailing championships
The GB team for the youth world sailing championships

Ella Geiger is competing in the girls’ kite foiling class at the 50th edition of the prestigious regatta in Mussanah, Oman, which began on Mondayand runs until the weekend.

Competing in the 29er, 420, Nacra 15, ILCA 6, Techno293+ and Formula Kite classes, the GB sailors gained selection to the team for their performances at the 2021 RYA Youth National Championships.

The Youth Worlds returns after the 2020 edition was cancelled in the coronavirus pandemic and follows the Olympic pathway more closely with the addition of the kiteboarding.

Previous Youth Worlds participants include some of today’s best-known sailors including the world’s most decorated Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie.

Three of the 2019 team, Finn Hawkins, Freya Black and Matilda Nicholls, have also made the progression into the full British Sailing team.

Of the 16 selected sailors, all but one – including Geiger – will make their Youth Worlds debut.

Jasmine Williams (Restronguet SC) is the sole returnee taking on the Nacra 15, this time teaming up with crew Alfie Cogger (Coniston SC).

Geiger is alongside Adam Farrington (Bournemouth & Poole Kitesurfing Club) in taking on the new addition of the Formula Kite.

Farrington said: “I’m expecting some high quality super-fast racing. I’ve not been able to compete internationally this year, but I’ve been training really hard and am hoping for a top five position. Nobody really knows who’s going or how good they are, so anything could happen.

“I’m also really excited to be representing GB sailing for the first time, and the warm weather will be a bonus.”

At 16, ILCA 6 sailor Sam Dickinson (HISC) is the youngest member of the team but has experience around him with 18-year-old Coco Barrett (Island Barn Reservoir SC) and seasoned ILCA coach James Hadden.

Barrett said: “I’m expecting it to be a fairly challenging but fun regatta. From what we saw of the ILCA 6 Worlds last week [in Oman], the breeze can be very light and shifty, so it’s going to be important to keep consistent.

“Sam and I have been working a lot with our coach this winter, so we’ll both be looking to replicate the gains we’ve made in training.

“Having not been able to compete at any of the U19 international events in the last two years due to covid, it’s really awesome to have one last opportunity before I age out. I’m really looking forward to meeting new people and experiencing the international atmosphere, and it’s always nice to sail somewhere hot midwinter.”

Girls’ Techno293+ representative Lucy Kenyon, 17, said: “I’m really excited for the Youth Worlds in Oman. The venue looks amazing and I’m very happy to be leaving the UK winter weather behind.

“We’ve worked really hard so I can’t wait to get out there on the start line and do my best. I have to also say a big thank you for all the support and everyone that has made it possible.”

You can follow the progress across British Youth Sailing social media and on the Youth Worlds website at worldsailingywc.org