Greber and Henson battle nerves to clinch world title

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RYA National Youth Squad sailors James Henson and Olivier Greber clinched a silver medal at the 2013 SL16 World Championships, which came to a close at the Cercle de la Voile du Pyla sur Mer, France.

Henson, 18, from Spetisbury, Dorset and his crew Greber, 17, from Eastbourne, also bagged the U19 SL16 World title after finishing second behind the French boat of Tristan and Corentin Trebaol, who are one year older than the British duo.

Henson and Greber, who will represent RYA Volvo Team GBR at the 2013 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Limmassol, Cyprus, had a nervy start to their World Championships, posting a 14th on the opening day of the regatta in what were some shifty and challenging conditions.

However, they soon settled their nerves, allowing them to add top five finishes to their scorecard for the remainder of the regatta.

The RYA Volvo Team GBR representatives entered the final race deciders in second position, seven points behind first and 15 points in front of third with it all to play for.

Unfortunately, though, they were unable to topple the overnight leaders from France, posting two discards to sit them second overall.

Greber, from Pevensey Bay Sailing Club, said, “The opening day of the regatta didn’t start as well as what we would have liked.

“The breeze was up and down and we waited until about 3pm to get the one race in where we finished 14th.

“The second day was a lot better, we had four races in some good breeze where we managed to secure some top five places which put us in good stead for the rest of the regatta.

“The final two days of the regatta were the most trickiest with the breeze not filling in until the afternoon.

“Heading into the final races our aim was definitely gold as we were only seven points behind the French but the conditions were some of the hardest we have raced in, with some offshorebreezes which made it shifty and gusty with things not falling our way unfortunately.”

The SL16 French boat finished their home World Championships in fine form and clinched gold in true fashion, with Greber quick to give praise to Tristan and Corentin Trebaol.

The 17-year-old Sussex Downs College, East Sussex student added, “Tristan and Corentin have been up at the top for the past three years - they won it last time it was at this venue two years ago and finished second to Rupert and Tom in 2012 so have provided really tough competition all week.

“Although, they are actually a year older than us so it’s also pretty cool to say that we’re the U19 World Champions!”