Caitlin Overcomes Obstacles in Summer of Sailing
Following a change in sailing partners and her absence from two Grand Prixs, it hasn’t been all ‘plain sailing’ for King’s pupil Caitlin Webster.
However, with a combination of training and several competitions through the winter and summer periods, the Lower Sixth pupil achieved a fantastic set of results. Alongside her partner, Dani, she faced her fears in Largs, flew through her sail in Torbay, and dodged the sand banks in Hayling Island – incurring a number of bumps and bruises along the way!
With so many achievements this year, and after earning their place on the RYA British Youth Sailing team, the duo’s hard work paid off.
“We came away with very impressive 2nd in Torbay, just narrowly missing out on 1st position.” said Caitlin. “It was all down to the last race. However, we managed to get ourselves disqualified in the first race of the second day, which made us lose our overnight lead. It was all very tough and sadly we lost the lead, but we were still very happy to have come away with 1st girls and 2nd overall.”
Following their time in Torquay, the girls travelled to Hayling Island in Hampshire for the National Championships. For what was meant to be a 5-day racing event with roughly 15 races, the pair only managed to complete seven.
“On the first day it was so windy it would have been too dangerous to send us out. They ended up cancelling the day’s races, so we went shopping instead!” said Caitlin. “In fact, the wind was all over the place for the duration of the week, and with such long days waiting around on the water, it got very exhausting for us all.”
On the final day, to lift their spirits, the girls attended a fancy dress event as Tigger and Eeyore. Despite not winning any prizes, mainly due to the lightness of their boat in the crossfire of strong winds, the pair enjoyed the experience.
To round off the summer, Caitlin embarked on an international event – the European Championships – in Helsinki. The event itself was somewhat disappointing for the keen sailor, not for lack of achievement, but rather for lack of organisation on the host’s part.
Commenting on the event, she said: “And all I can say is that we learned a lot from it. The European fleets are a massive standard, and with it only being my second international event in that boat, it really opened my eyes.”
She added: “Although we have had highs, we did have lows too, and managing both of these is hard. However, that’s how you become a successful athlete; you have to deal with disappointment as well as achievement.”
“I’m now looking forward to the new season, with my squad selector coming up soon. Let’s see what new challenges we face this year!”