Over the last week of the holidays, the Radley College Sailing Team took an SB20 keelboat to the World Championships, which, this year, took place in home waters at Cowes. The crew consisted of Toby Bennett (d) at the helm, with Richard Butterworth (g), Charlie Spraggs (j) and Bertie Barker crewing. Warm and sunny weather prevailed almost throughout, which did great things for the boys' tans, but made for challenging sailing conditions. The resulting light winds proved as mighty an adversary as the world-class competition, meaning that even the smallest of mistakes was hugely magnified. The boys no doubt hoped for a higher finish than their final placing of 77th, but considering their level of experience and time spent sailing together, they can be truly proud of what they have achieved. That is to say, they finished all of the races, gave their best every day, and did not come last! When it would have been easy to become down-hearted and stop caring, everyone maintained high spirits, battled on, and, consequently, learned an awful lot.
The boys were also fabulously lucky to be looked after by two giants of the sailing world: firstly the Butterworth family, who very generously housed and royally fed the crew for the week, for which we are extremely grateful, and secondly, the Royal Yacht Squadron, who hosted the event and made sure the racing and after-race entertainment were excellent and rather civilised.
A final huge thanks is due to George Barker and his son Bertie, who slaved away for weeks preparing the boat for battle and being there for the boys during the event - Bertie with an extra pair of hands on board and George lending on-the-water safety and after-race coaching. For full details, daily race reports and videos, please click here to visit the SB20 Worlds website.