Sailor Whiteley wins bronze in the worlds
RISING sailing talent Daniel Whiteley held composure to take under-21 Laser World Championship bronze in Nieuwpoort, Belgium recently.
The British Sailing Team Podium Potential Pathway sailor from Bangor showed his intentions on day one, taking a bullet and two sixths to leave put him firmly in the mix.
A further bullet and a string of top10 results saw the 19-year-old hold his nerve to finish the event third in the 102-strong fleet.
Having only transitioned from the Radial earlier this year, the young sailor who won the RYA Youth Nationals in April was thrilled at a strong international performance in the Olympic Laser class.
“It feels really good, although it wasn’t something I was expecting,” he said.
“I’ve had quite a hard build-up moving out of the Radial only six months ago, so to medal shows the hard work has paid off.
“We had such a big mix of conditions and some really strong tide, so the biggest challenge was to get off the start line clear. The shifts were hard and it was tricky to get to the front of the fleet, but somehow I managed to do a decent job all week and finished pretty well.”
Revelling in the midweek stronger breeze gave Whiteley a confidence boost to carry forward to the business end of the event.
“I really enjoyed the really windy third day. Previously I haven’t been that strong as I’ve been quite light, but I turned out to be quick so it was a real highlight managing to get around the course fast, scoring a 3, 1,” he said.
Coach James Gray commented on Whiteley’s excellent performance:
He said: “He was the most consistent sailors upwind and this gave him the best chance of posting good scores. Joel Rodriguez Perez (ESP) and Jonatan Vadnai (HUN) were very strong as we have seen over the past few years and thoroughly deserved to be taking the top two spots, just being Photo: British Sailing Team/James Gray that little bit better over the race course.
“Most impressively for me has been Dan’s ability to turn around a relatively slow start to the season earlier this year. He has incredible self-belief and his hard work in the last few months really paid off.
Whiteley, and team-mates Sam Whaley and Jack Cookson, now turn their focus to the Laser Worlds in Split, Croatia in September as they look to test their mettle against the senior fleet.
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Bangor sailor Daniel Whiteley (centre) with Sam Whaley and Jack Cookson