Brother and sister to represent GB at world championships

PUBLISHED: 12:25 24 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:29 25 July 2018

Bettine Harris.

Bettine Harris.

Archant

Kings of Wessex Academy students Bettine and Jamie Harris have an exciting summer ahead of them when they will be representing Great Britain at the 420 World Sailing Championships in Newport, Rhode Island in August.

Brother and sister dynamic duo and Years 10 and 12 Kings of Wessex Academy students Bettine and Jamie Harris have an exciting summer ahead of them when they will be representing Great Britain at the 420 World Sailing Championships in Newport, Rhode Island in August.

After winning the Cadet Dinghy National Championships last summer, Bettine transitioned to the International 420 dinghy class and teamed up with Megan, her closest rival on the water.

The pair have worked hard over the winter training in extremely cold temperatures, battling snow and wild conditions as far afield as Pwllheli in North Wales and Calshot on the Solent and Bettine’s change from being a helm to a trapeze crew in a performance dinghy was also a challenge.

In the 420, the crew calls the tactics and is suspended outside the boat on a trapeze wire. This has been a steep learning curve in a role that is both physically and mentally demanding (and also very wet and cold).

The culmination of their winter training was the RYA Youth Nationals held at Easter in Scotland, which was all the more important as the selection event for all the British youth teams and squads.

The racing was challenged by interruptions of snow and gale force winds. But Bettine and Megan had a fantastic result and finished as second girl boat which guaranteed places in the GBR team in Portugal for the European Championships and to Newport, Rhode Island for the World Championships.

They also underwent fitness testing and these results, combined with the sailing results secured them a place in the prestigious RYA national youth squad.

Bettine has recently returned from the European Championships in Portugal, which was the girls’ first international racing in the 420 and also their first taste of being truly independent as they had to travel there, rig and tune their boat and do everything for themselves without their parents at the event.

Their experience has boosted their confidence and is good preparation to take with them to the world championships in August.

Executive headteacher Gavin Ball said: “Bettine and Jamie’s continued sailing success is truly commendable and inspiring to us all. I wish them every deserved success in the world championships and I know that they are going to have a wonderful summer to remember.”

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