Katie sails into world top ten

SUFFOLK sailor Katie Archer finished in the top ten in her first ISAF World Games – then set her sights on winning the national championships next week.

SUFFOLK sailor Katie Archer finished in the top ten in her first ISAF World Games – then set her sights on winning the national championships next week.

The event held in Marseilles finished on Wednesday and saw the best Laser radial competitors from around the world racing on nine consecutive days.

Katie finished in tenth place, two behind national team-mate Nicky Muller and out of 18 races, Katie

finished second on two occasions. She was handed the honour of carrying the British flag at the opening ceremony of the competition as she was the youngest competitor in the national squad.

"That made me really proud and feel great," said Katie. "There were all these British people waving flags which was really nice.

"I have proved I can still compete even though I didn't have much practice before the event and I have learnt a lot about sailing."

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Katie recovered well after a poor start to the competition and she feels this was due to a lack of racing Laser radials.

She said: "I had practised with my brother but I got better as the competition went on and this was simply because I was sailing more. I had been realistic when I came here and the first results weren't too good and I was a bit fed up.

"It was in really hard conditions where some days we had no wind and in others we had too much but I thought: 'I know I can do this.

"It was quite frustrating because I was being beaten by people who I could beat and I knew I could do better. Towards the end though and in the last few days we showed that nobody was unbeatable.

"I am ready for the next event which is the national championships in Plymouth and I hope to win that or at least make the top ten a week next Saturday.

"My coach Chris Gowers was absolutely brilliant and he knows what we need. He talked to us individually, gave us some advice and told us what we needed to hear."

Gowers said it had been a good competition for Katie and she will gain a lot from her experiences.

"She has performed well given the amount of preparation," said Gowers. "She will have learnt how much closer the racing is at senior level and the intensity required.

"Katie could improve by having more preparation, especially for the lighter winds and to be more intense during the ten minutes before the start. This means decisions taken during the first couple of minutes can be made more accurately."

With two British sailors finishing in the top ten of a world event Gowers said the future looks good for British sailing but there is a still a lot of hard work to do.

He said: "The top ten is a good starter but if we look at the Olympics the level is even higher and tougher and is dependent on almost full time commitment.

"Fortunately now in Britain with lottery funding it is possible to do this and as the results in Sydney showed small boat sailing is strong in Britain at the moment."

The games were described as "a long event with lots of sitting around in a variety of conditions, but with an exceptional performance by the winner".

Sophie De Turkheim from France came first and dominated the event from the beginning. She won nine of the 18 races, only finished outside the top ten once and had won the competition before the last day of racing. Second place went to Poland's Katarzyna Szotynska and third was Gea Barbie of Croatia.

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