Emsworth pair in Croatia for sailing’s ‘Youth Olympics’

Jess Lavery and Georgie Mothersele
Jess Lavery and Georgie Mothersele
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Emsworth sailors Jess Lavery and Georgie Mothersele are sampling the biggest week of their careers to date in Croatia as they represent RYA Volvo Team GBR at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships.

The Croatian Sailing Federation are hosting the 41st event at the Uskok Sailing Club in Zadar until July 16.

It’s seen by many as sailing’s Youth Olympics and has, over the years, identified talented sailors such as Olympic gold medallists Ben Ainslie, Sarah Ayton and Iain Percy.

The Emsworth duo, both 17 and from Portsmouth Grammar School and Bishop Luffa School respectively, were chosen to represent RYA Volvo Team GBR after the RYA Volvo Youth National Championships at Hayling Island in April.

The aspiring young Olympians from Emsworth Sailing Club compete in the female double-handed 420 class at the world’s premier event for youth sailors, which will welcome more than 360 of the world’s top Olympic hopefuls.

“To be selected for RYA Volvo Team GBR is a really great achievement! We performed really well at the trials, which was brilliant – it’s always nice to do well at a local venue and in front of our parents,” explained Lavery.

Mothersele added: “It’s great to know all our hard training over the winter has paid off, and our coaches have been fantastic in helping us reach where we wanted to be.

“It’s a great honour to be representing RYA Volvo Team GBR in a high-profile event and it’s such a privilege to be doing it for our country.

“We just hope we can perform as well as we know we can and hopefully do ourselves proud.”

The duo have had a fantastic year so far – they were crowned 420 female champions at the RYA Volvo Youth Nationals Championships.

“Straight after winning the youth nationals we started using the sails we will use in Zadar as well as preparing the kit and working on our routines. We’ve recently competed in an international event in Kiel, Germany, which gave us more experience of overseas racing and an insight into foreign competitors,” said Lavery.

The RYA 420 female national champions attended the RYA ISAF Team Building Camp at Plas Menai along with fellow members of the GBR, which gave the team the chance to bond, discuss tactics and prepare for an exciting and tense week of racing out in Zadar.

Mothersele said: “We want to gain a great experience of overseas events and learn as much as we can for future regattas.

“We have another year in the RYA Youth Racing programme so will use this regatta as a learning experience, and if selected again next year, which I hope we are, work towards winning a medal there by using what we learn at this year’s regatta.”

Conditions in Zadar are known to be quite variable with winds varying from 8-12 knots which may suit the duo.

“The conditions are the type we prefer to sail in but we’re just going to take whatever is thrown at us.

“We need to keep a positive attitude and work well as a team and then hopefully everything will just fall into place.”

A good performance at the ISAF Youth Worlds for Lavery and Mothersele would stand them in good stead for a prosperous sailing career.

With this being their first ISAF Youth Worlds, Lavery said: “Obviously we want to do well at the Youth Worlds, but our main aim is to continue to improve and learn as much as we can.

“We want to race well at every regatta we compete in and hopefully one day race at the highest level, which for us would be the Olympics.”

Team GBR are sponsored by Volvo Car UK and supported by the RYA Youth Programme clothing supplier Henri Lloyd.