TWO 11-year-old boys from Rugby are riding on the the crest of a wave after becoming Junior World Champions in the RS Feva World Championships in Carnac, France in a phenomenal feat of sailing.
Jack Lewis (helm) from Clifton-upon-Dunsmore and Lucas Marshall (crew) came 18th overall out of 183 boats in their RS Feva double-hander (a two person sailing dinghy), and were the highest placed U13s, which means they can now call themselves Junior World and European Champions after winning the continental trophy in May coming second overall out of 48
Jack, who will attend Ashlawn School in September has been sailing since he was six when his dad Martyn taught him to crew a Miracle, and two years later the father-and-son duo won the National Miracle Championships.
Since then Jack, a member of the Draycote Water Sailing Club (DWSC), has been racing in an RS tera Sport, (one man dinghy), and last year became the UK National champion and also retained the Inland championship title and came 2nd in the RS Tera Worlds.
His crew Lucas Marshall, who attends Bilton Grange School, only took up the sport two years ago when he joined (DWSC) and the two teamed up in 2013. In May this year they sailed in Bruinisse, Netherlands where they won the Junior European Championship.
“We are all very pleased for them. When they are competing I am always nervous for them out on the water but they won the first two races and we were thinking ‘my goodness how did they do that.’” said Jack’s mum Ruth.
“Martyn’s dad bought a dinghy when he was 11 and he has entered lots of competitions over the years including being second in the European Championships and seventh in the World Championships in a Fireball.
“But we all say that Jack is a natural. He goes into a different mode and he sees things, constantly looking to see where the wind is and he wants to win.
“Hopefully he will go on and become adult world champion and fulfill his dream of being an Olympian.”
The six-day competition on the Brittany coast ran from Sunday, June 27 to Friday, August 1, including a rest day on the Wednesday, with the first two days acting as qualifying rounds of three 45-minute races each day. After the first day Jack and Lucas were second overall and this put them in a good position for the rest of the week.
Following the preliminary rounds the boats were split into three groups with Jack and Lucas being put in the highest group, the gold fleet.
They then competed in eight races within their fleet, in sometimes high winds, against some of the best under-18 sailors in the world and managed to finish 18th and fend of challenges from the other under-13 teams to become World Junior Champions.
“In France they were racing 17-year-olds and were two of the youngest pairings – it’s not very often you get two 11-year-olds competing.” said Ruth.
Jack said of his victory: “I can just concentrate when I’m sailing, I knew we had beaten the second place pair and I felt really happy and Lucas had the biggest grin on his face ever.”
They will now be taking part in the Royal National Yachting Association (RYA)national junior squad selection at Northampton and Torbay in September but before then Jack will be competing in the RS Tera Pro Nationals in three week’s time having moved up from the RS tera sport.
The RYA squad selectors call up sailors from junior to Olympic level and will be looking at who they want to take into the national junior squad for GBR.