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Four top 20 spots for Brits at ILCA 7 World Championships

Written by 10th November 2021 Featured-post, World Championships

After playing havoc with the ILCA 7 World Championships all week, Mother Nature decided to end the regatta early with Storm Blas preventing the final day’s racing.

With two days lost to light winds early on in the regatta, only eight races were completed over the six-day event.

Any hopes of bettering positions were dashed today by the huge seas preventing sailors leaving the harbour at Barcelona Sailing Center, the Brits taking on the 135-boat fleet had to settle for their day five scores.

Taking the title of top Brit was 23-year-old Welshman Daniel Whiteley, who finished eighth in what was his first world championships since becoming a full-time athlete with the British Sailing Team.

Whiteley followed up on last month’s 13th place at the ILCA 7 European Championships with another personal best against the international fleet.

“It feels incredible,” said Whiteley, from Bangor. “I’ve missed racing at the front since I aged out of under-21 regattas, so to be back in the top ten feels amazing. This is the first world championships I’ve been too since 2018 and my first since going full time with the British Sailing Team. To come away with this result means everything.”

Dan Whiteley in action.

Dan Whiteley in action. © Anna Suslova

Fellow young gun Sam Whaley also bettered his 22nd at the Euros – also a personal best – to come home 15th, obliterating his 2020 result of 64th.

“It’s been a really tricky week here in Barcelona but I’m pretty chuffed to finish the event 15th overall, an improvement of almost fifty places from last year,” the 24-year-old from Swanage, Dorset, said.

“The team environment we have is brilliant and has really allowed us to level up this year. It’s pretty cool to share this success with my squad mates as well as coaches Penny [Clark] and Matt [Howard], who have been awesome this week. I’m going to remember this one for a long time.”

Sam Whaley

Sam Whaley. © Anna Suslova

Tokyo 2020 Team GB athlete Elliot Hanson led the regatta at the halfway stage when teammate and recently crowned European champion Micky Beckett picked up the mantle.

However the pair’s medals hopes were ended when a collision between them on the startline of the final race of day five resulted in Beckett pulling out with a minor injury and Hanson retiring in accordance with the rules. Beckett finished 13th while Hanson was 17th.

“It’s been good to be back racing after a prolonged break since Tokyo,” Hanson said. “It’s obviously a real shame to end the way it did having led most of the week. An unfortunate freak accident that ultimately took both myself and Micky out of the standings wasn’t in the script.

“I’m happy he’s ok though and look forward to training hard together this winter. Special mention to both Sam and Dan who have been working hard and sailed a fantastic week to both score personal bests.”

Beckett added: “This week will teach me some lessons about staying out of trouble. It’s been tough, but really I’m just grateful to have been looked after by Matt and Penny and the lads have kept a smile on my face. It’s awesome to see Dan and Sam with absolutely incredible results, they’ve been one half of an awesome training group and I’m so pleased for them. For Elliot and I it’s a bit like both Williams drivers beating the Mercedes drivers, we’re all laughing about it and looking forward to doing more sailing together.”

Full results from the regatta can be found here.