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Golden touch assists talented young sailor

TALENTED young sailor Adelicia Lavender has received coaching from the best to put her on course for world glory.


The Bognor Regis pupil spent Tuesday being tutored by double Oympic gold medal winner Sarah Ayton.


The one-to-one session on Hayling Island helped Adelicia prepare for this year’s national and world championships in the RS Tera yachts.


Speaking before her special day, Adelicia said: “My mother requested Sarah to coach me and she said yes.


“I’ve met Sarah a couple of times but I’ve never been coached by her before. I would like to follow her to an Olympic gold medal.


“It would be challenging but I like a challenge. I sail single-handedly because the decisions are all mine. I can’t blame anyone else if something goes wrong.”


The entry of Adelicia, 13, into this year’s RS Terra British championships will see her travel to Cardiff. She was among the 50 selected in her age group after she was in a national training squad of 125.


The championships will take place in the summer holiday. Adelicia will also be a competitor in the RS Tera world event at Weymouth during those weeks.


She said: “I’m delighted to be selected. I just have to be confident enough to do my best. I’m looking forward to the event. It’s quite nerve-wracking but exciting at the same time. It will be good to have GB on my sail.”


Adelicia, who attends The Regis School, took up sailing in her home town of Littlehampton. She saw the boats at the Arun Yacht Club on the River Arun when she was about ten and wanted to have a go. “I found it exciting,” she said. “It was exciting sailing through the waves and having the wind on my face.


Her talents at the helm saw her win a few prizes and she decided to switch to Felpham Sailing Club in Blakes Road last April because of its successes in the events in which she competed.


Her first season sailing off Felpham beach saw her collect seven titles in her age group, including the Princes Pot, and at least three others – such as best newcomer – against competitors aged up to 18. Even some adults are no match for her abilities with the sail.


Adelicia hones her skills four or five times a week in the summer and at least once a fortnight in the winter and can speed through the waves at speeds of up to 12 knots.


Her initial success led to her being selected for last year’s RS Tera nationals but the conditions were against good sailing.

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