Nine-year-old Nicholls gets better of Bromby
Promising Optimist sailor Matilda Nicholls created a big buzz in Hamilton Harbor earlier this week
The nine-year-old sailor teamed up with sailing coaches Tom Herbert-Evans and Paul Doughty to navigate the 26-foot J80 (Tiddlywink)
to a stunning win during Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club’s Wednesday Night Racing Series.
Sailing in favourable light and variable breezes, Nicholls beat out top sailors such as Peter Bromby, Lee White and Glenn Astwood to claim first place honours on handicap.
Bromby, who is bidding to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games in England, finished second in his Etchell (Trump) followed by in third by Gregory Somers at the helm of (Fat Tuesday).
“I’ve not been beaten by a nine-year-old since I was about eight-years-old myself,” said Bromby, taking defeat to his junior rival all in stride. “She’s coming along nicely and is actually in my daughter’s (Courtney) class.”
Based on the progress of youth sailors such as Nicholls over the past summer, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club sailing director and coach Herbert- Evans is looking forward to what he anticipates will be bigger and better things to come in the future.
“The very young age at which the likes of Campbell Patton, Benn Smith and Matilda Nicholls are achieving their successes suggests Bermuda will have some very exceptional results to follow in the next few years as these sailors continue to improve,” he said.
“The climate and facilities for our sailors are world class, they provide the perfect platform for Bermudians to become International stars.”
Fellow RYBC sailing coach Doughty agrees.
“Not only do we have 9 and 10 year -olds already achieving outstanding results internationally, we also have a huge number of 6 8 year old kids coming through the RBYC sailing programme at the moment and showing tremendous potential,” he said.
Next week will see the RBYC Fall sailing course commence.
“We are taking on some additional qualified instructors to allow us to extend our offering to the Bermuda public,” said Herbert-Evans. “Our aim is not to be the biggest, but to provide an excellent product to enable the sailors to enjoy (and) also succeed at learning to sail.”
Optimist coach Doughty added: “The re-energising of sailing at RBYC has been a thrill for me to be a part of, Bermuda’s children from all backgrounds are learning and developing an activity that is healthy, positive and will benefit them in the long-term.”
For more information about the RBYC sailing programme visit rbyc.bm.