Banham to face world’s best
Ross Banham is relishing the prospect of racing against the best young sailors at the first ISAF Youth World Championships in Malaysia in December.
The Bethersden teenager, a pupil at Bethany School in Goudhurst, will be partnered by team-mate Max Clapp, representing Britain in the 420 class.
They are among a team of 12 for the eight-day championships – which run from December 27 to Januray 3 – having won the invitation only trials at Hayling Island last month.
Banham, 16, said: “I’m excited because it is an event we have never been to before and it’s the best sailors from every nation, which makes it even more exciting because the racing will be so hard but fun at the same time.”
“We will be competing against the best of the best. Only one boat from each country ranked in the top 34 in the world have been invited to fight it out for the most coveted under-19 title.”
Success would see Banham in good company, with previous British winners including Olympic champions Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy.
Team leader Oli Woodcock believes Banham and his Great Britain team-mates will fare well.
He said: “We have a strong team heading out to Malaysia with a lot of fresh faces.
“We are going to work with all of the sailors to create tailored training plans we need to make sure they work around their school commitments.
“We will then meet once as a team in December. We have a good chance of medals in a lot of the classes and I’m looking forward to working with them all over the next few months.”
The success in Hampshire came just days after the pair won the UK National and under-17 titles at the 420 Championships in Restronguet near Falmouth in Cornwall, adding that to the UK Youth title won earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Banham and Clapp were part of the GB1 team who finished fourth in the 420 World Team Championships at Lake Garda in Italy last week.
They were pipped to the bronze by Portugal on the points tie-break rule, after the third place race-off was cancelled due to weather conditions and time limits placed on the event following delays earlier in the racing schedule.
Ross Banham, right, in action at the Youth Worlds selection event