Wollmann siblings on Malaysia mission
Siblings Cecilia and Mikey Wollmann will be among a record field at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Malaysia.
More than 430 sailors from 80 nations are competing in the regatta to be held from December 27 to January 3 off the island of Langkawi.
Cecilia, who is bidding to qualify for next summer's Olympics in Rio, is making her second appearance at the championships and Mikey his first.
The pair, who qualified for the event at this summer's Sail Canada Youth National Championships in Kingston, Ontario, headed to Malaysia in high spirits on Tuesday.
Cecilia, the Bermuda Red Bull Youth America's Cup hopeful, is looking forward to representing Bermuda once again on the international stage.
“It's always an honour to represent Bermuda anywhere, especially at a prestigious event such as this one,” she said. “Bermuda has had a long history of some great sailors, and it's nice to follow in their footsteps.”
Cecilia and Mikey are both competing in the single-handed Laser Radial.
“Lasers are one of the most popular and competitive boat types,” Cecilia said. “They are a one-design class so all the boats have similar speeds. This makes for a tactical race and often the boats are close together. It should be a light-wind venue in a small bay. It may have shifty winds so it will be a challenging regatta.”
As well as the challenging conditions, Cecilia will have her work cut out competing against the world's elite.
“It is only the top person from each country so it is going to be very hard,” she said. “Everyone is the top in their country and has trained for many years for this event.”
Cecilia's main objective in Malaysia is to improve on her previous showing at the championships.
“I hope to improve on my 30th last year in Portugal,” she said. “At that point last year, my main focus was the Byte for the Youth Olympics, which is where I concentrated most of my training on. This year I have been completely focused on the Laser Radial and I spent two months in South America training with other top sailors.”
Regatta debutant Mikey, one of the youngest sailors competing in Malaysia, is keen to learn as much as he can sailing against this level of competition in a boat he regards as “physically demanding”.
“I'm going for the experience and hopefully to do better in the coming years as right now I'm one of the youngest competitors competing there,” he said.
“Moving into the Lasers has been a tough but enjoyable progress.
“They go faster than previous boats I have sailed, but it has also had its challenges as it is much more physically demanding.”
Mikey is also looking forward to competing against his sister.
“It's nice competing with my sister as she has more experience than me and can give me pointers on what to do,” he said.
Cecilia added: “We like to see each other do well and give each other support.
“We train often together which helps us better and develop our skills.”