Patton qualifies for youth worlds
Campbell Patton has qualified for the Youth World Sailing Championships.
The teenaged sailor entered the Sail Canada Youth National Championships in Kingston, Ontario last week looking to secure qualification to December's event in New Zealand, and did just that with an outstanding performance in the Laser Radial that surpassed his expectations.
Not only did the Warwick Academy student secure qualification for the next Youth World Sailing Championships, he nearly won it all after finishing a close second behind home town sailor Justin Vittecoq in the 49-strong Laser Radial Gold Fleet.
“I really wasn't expecting to do so good going into it,” Patton said. “I wasn't expecting to come second in the regatta at all.
“I have just moved into the boat and so I am still getting used to everything.”
Patton posted two first and finished no lower then fifteenth on his debut in the Olympic class single-handed Laser Radial at the annual fresh water regatta, contested on Lake Ontario and run out of the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour Marina.
“I was focusing on keeping things simple,” Patton said. “Sticking to a proper game plan and going which way I wanted with good starts, which was something I was able to do consistently and that worked out really well.”
Patton was one of two local sailors competing for the sole Youth World Sailing Championships spot up for grabs, the other being Benn Smith, who placed seventh overall and also finished first in two races.
“The top Bermuda sailor gets to go to the Youth World Sailing Championships and it was between Benn and myself because no other [local] sailors competed,” Patton said.
“The main goal was to beat Benn and that felt kind of wrong because he's a fellow Bermudian and all. But that's what I had to do to go to get to the Youth World Sailing Championships.”
The battle between the two local sailors for the qualification spot went right down to the wire.
“Going into the last day it was really close between Benn and myself, and so it was going to be who beat who,” Patton said.
“I was concerned about us match racing inside the fleet instead of doing the race, but we stayed apart from each other and just sailed the race.
“I was quicker off the start and had a better race and finished the last race in second.”
Smith's qualifying hopes were dashed after crossing the line in fifteenth in the last race.
Evidently, Patton put the knowledge of local conditions he received from Canadian coach Robert Davis to good use.
“He [Davis] is a really good Laser sailor who really helped me,” Patton said. “He is from Kingston and knew a lot about the location and everything else, which really helped me out.”
This year's Youth World Sailing Championships will be held in Auckland from December 14 to 20.
“I have a lot of work to do before the Youth World Sailing Championships,” Patton said. “I have to get a bit bigger and put on some weight and muscle, and improve my sailing a lot, because those guys are definitely good. They are the top in the world.”
Siblings Cecilia Wollmann and Mikey Wollmann represented Bermuda at last year's Youth World Sailing Championships in Malaysia, placing fifteenth and 39th in the girls and boys Laser Radial.