SOLIHULL youngsters Freddie Sunderland and Stella Nygard claimed a place on the podium at a national championship to help their home club win the ‘top team’ trophy at the event.
The two 15-year-old’s put together an impressive series to finish third overall and as the first mixed team at the RS Feva National Championships.
And the event was hosted by London 2012 Olympic venue, Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.
The event had an 82-boat fleet battling for honours and, following two days of racing in light airs accompanied by dolphins, the wind picked up for a breezier final couple of days.
And the improving conditions saw Freddie and Stella conclude the 12-race series on a high with a string of top-three race results on the final day.
Freddie, who attends Solihull School, and Stella, Tudor Grange Academy, were part of a winning team from their home club Draycote Water Sailing Club in Warwickshire.
Their results, combined with those of teammates Katie and Bob Byne (ninth overall and third mixed team) and Imogen Green and Felicity Angell (18th overall and fourth girls), saw Draycote Water SC lead the overall rankings to earn the title for top club.
Freddie was encouraged into sailing by his two older brothers and has since become hooked.
Freddie said: “Sailing has given me a load of skills like independence and resilience but has also shown me the importance of teamwork and friendship.”
Stella, who loves sailing, said: “The sport has helped me overcome shyness, find friends and express myself, I love the feeling of speed, freedom and excitement!”
The inland-based Draycote Water team beat the south coast’s Royal Lymington Yacht Club (second) and Port Dinorwic Sailing Club in Wales (third) to claim the team title.
Draycote Commodore, William Whittaker said: “Following on from our winning the Rugby Sports Club of the Year, this victory by our fabulous young sailors really cements the club not only locally, but also nationally.
“It also shows what sailing can give to young people. Last year we taught 240 children to sail during the summer holidays and we hope to teach even more this year!”
Freddie and Stella both started out sailing at Olton Mere Sailing Club in Solihull. They will be back in Weymouth in July to compete at the RS Feva World Championships.
To find out more about opportunities and training courses for all ages at Draycote Water Sailing Club visit: www.draycotewater.co.uk