Ellie is making waves
4:00pm Thursday 21st June 2012 in Sport
Fishguard sailor Ellie Meopham might not have been anywhere near the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta podium, but she insists the chance to test her skills against the world’s best was too good an opportunity to turn down.
At just 17, Meopham headed to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy – the London 2012 sailing venue – never expecting to come away with a medal in the Laser Radial competition.
And it was just as tough as she predicted, as she finished 17th in the silver fleet while her seniors battled it out to land an early blow just two months before the Games kick off.
However, all was not lost for the Ysgol Bro Gwaun pupil as she shared the Olympic waters with those sailors going for gold at London 2012 later this summer – notably compatriot Alison Young who finished with the gold medal.
And it was this chance to rub shoulders with her seniors that proves to Meopham her trip to the south coast was far from a wasted journey.
“Sail for Gold was the biggest event I have ever done. It really opens your eyes,” she said. “In the youth series we are all of a similar sort of a speed.
“But the speed some of the girls were getting up to was just insane; it really broadens your horizons and I never went to Sail for Gold to get a result.
“These are Olympic sailors who have been sailing for years and years; I went to enjoy myself and to learn.
“It was amazing. The standard of the fleet was insane. When we go to the usual events, there are a lot of people who aren’t at the top of the fleet so you’ve got a bit more fat to the fleet.
“But at Sail for Gold it was just the best in the world and I am grateful that I got the chance to see what I can do against them and learn as much as I could.”
After claiming gold last week, Young can now focus on fine tuning her skills ahead of a return to Weymouth for London 2012 – the Games now less than 50 days away.
But Fishguard Bay Yacht Club starlet Meopham insists she has plenty to look forward to as well.
“I’ve got the ISAF Youth World Championships coming up in Ireland in July,” she added. “My aim is to go there and be somewhere around the medals. And Sail for Gold will help me get there hopefully.
“I have just finished my exams so when I came back for Sail for Gold I was starting all over again to build myself up ready for the summer events.
“So this was really the start to getting back into it and I have learnt a lot going into Ireland.”
Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team. For more information go to www.skandiateamgbr.com.