Dinghy sailor Ben Batchelor claimed his first race win at a world championship while on his way to third overall at last week’s RS Tera World Championships in Spain.
The five-day, 14-race championship in Santoña attracted more than 70 entries across two fleets, with young racers from as far afield as South Africa and Guatemala taking part.
The event was characterised by light and fickle winds which gave a big advantage to the lighter sailors.
15-year-old Batchelor, an Isle of Man Sport Aid and Cavendish scholarship athlete, showed superb tactical skill to stay at the sharp end of the 31-boat Pro fleet despite being 15kg heavier than eventual championship winner Jack Lewis.
Manx sailors tend to shine in heavy winds and rough seas, but Batchelor proved himself in the chess game of light airs sailing and fought his way into the top 10 in every race, taking his first world championship race win in race nine.
Racing in his first major regatta in the Pro fleet after moving up from the Sport fleet, 13-year-old Alec Cope took a superb fourth place in race eight and was in the top 10 going into the final day, before having to settle for 14th overall.
Meanwhile 10-year-old Teddy Dunn needed no time to find his feet in his first world championship experience, finishing 24th in the 41-boat Sport fleet and taking an outstanding 10th place finish on the final day.
Batchelor is the seventh local sailor to finish in the top five at the Tera world championships since the Manx Youth Sailing Squad, trained by the Isle of Man Yacht Club and 7th Wave, began competing in 2010. It’s the team’s best result since Greg Kelly was crowned Tera world champion in Italy in 2012.
Supported by the Isle of Man Steam Packet, the entire squad of eight young racers will be travelling to Wales next week to contest the UK Tera National Championships at the Plas Heli Welsh National Sailing Academy. Follow their progress by searching for the Manx Youth Sailing Squad on Facebook.