Freddie Targets Further Sailing Success
Freddie L, currently holds the prestigious title of English Junior National Champion after successfully becoming the highest placed English sailor in the British Optimist National Championship. In some downtime, away from his busy schedule and studies for Common Entrance, he sat and talked about how he got into sailing and what his aims and ambitions are for the future.
Freddie started sailing at the age of 6 when his mother, looking to entertain Freddie during his school holidays, took him along to his local sailing club to try something new. After his first session he was totally hooked and ever since has embarked on a tremendous journey of achievement culminating in becoming National Champion in the summer of 2016.
He began sailing in a two person boat with an instructor, but it was not long before he took the helm of an Optimist; the most competitive and largest class of single handed sailing boat in the world. Freddie jokingly referred to the model as a ‘bathtub’ due to the way it is shaped and the fact that he spends a substantial amount of time scooping out water from the inside by hand. Many other boats have an outlet hole to channel away unwanted water.
It was not long before Freddie was participating in competitions. In the UK, there are three weekend ranking events during the calendar year. Sailors have to navigate their way through a course and tactically outmanoeuvre their opponents to finish in winning positions. Over each weekend they will race 6-8 races with long days out on the water. Each event attracts around 250 competitors, all under 15 years of age. After all three events, a national ranking score is given to all the sailors. Approximately the top 25 children make national squad and the next 25 make intermediate squad. At the age of just 12, Freddie finished in 18th place securing his well deserved National Squad sailing place, an achievement of which he is rightfully extremely proud.
Freddie’s sailing training schedule is busiest in the autumn/winter months. Being a National squad member, his training commitments take him sailing all over the UK, allowing him to experience many testing sailing conditions. His favourites are Hayling Island and Lymington where he gets to sail on the ocean rather than flatter water lakes. The Spring / Summer months are busiest with many national and international racing events.
Other than his boat, the main equipment that Freddie needs is his sailing clothing, which understandably changes considerably according to the season. Thermals are essential, in addition to Superwarm hiking trousers, a splash top and buoyancy aid. In the winter months, a dry suit stops him getting wet and being affected by the harsh cold of the winter salt water. When competing abroad, Freddie can use a charter boat but he always takes his own sails which he maintains in any spare time he can find. Also, his sailing boat often develops cracks and imperfections, all of which need his care and attention, so that the boat is fit for the races ahead.
Freddie is currently working with commitment towards next year's international regattas that he will compete in for the GBR team. Also an event called ‘The Selections’, where the top 80 sailors in the country compete over 5 days, and from the results of which some of the top official Great Britain teams will be selected, including teams going to the World Championships and the European championships. His goal is to place in the top 10 which will give him a place on the European GB team.
His sailing clearly takes a great deal of time, both during weekends and holidays but also occasionally during the school term. Freddie is currently working towards his Common Entrance examinations at Lanesborough and admits that, sometimes, balancing the two can be a struggle. The school has been tremendously supportive of him pursuing his sailing goals, and he does his best in return by allocating dedicated time in his busy schedule away from school for his revision and homework, often before races or even on the journeys to a sailing venue. Freddie’s school recognises that self-confidence and self-esteem is raised by success in any field and fully supports his efforts to excel in his chosen passion.
Facts about Freddie
Five words to describe yourself
Where is your favourite place to sail?
- Braassmemermeer in the Netherlands because they make great food and always have good sailing conditions
What are the two most memorable moments of your sailing career to date?
- Becoming English Junior National Sailing Champion and wining the St George’s Cup
- Getting selected for the National Sailing squad
What are your short term and longer term goals for sailing?
- Next year, I would love to make it into the top 10 sailors in ‘The Selections’ and be chosen for the UK European sailing team
- In 5 years, I would like to think I would have mastered sailing a Lazer boat, continue to do well in competitions and perhaps, a dream, would be working towards competing in the Olympics sometime in the future.