Brandon impresses at national sailing event

Brandon Banner of Knutsford Academy amongst country’s finest

Despite icy winds gusting up to 35mph, year eight student Brandon Banner from Knutsford Academy braved the elements at this year’s Topper Class National Winter Regatta recently, at the home of Olympic sailing, in Weymouth.

The 12 year old faced competition from 140 of the country’s best young Topper sailors, most of whom are aged between 12 - 16 years old.

Brandon said: “I’ve loved sailing and have been taking part in racing for quite a few years. I started competing when I was 8 at Winsford, and now sail at Leigh & Lowton sailing club near Wigan.

“Sailing is a fantastic sport. You have to think about so much while you are out competing such as wind direction and speed, waves, weather patterns, boat set-up, rules and tactics.

“It’s also a great way to make some superb friends.”

Following five, hour-long races off the Dorset coast, Brandon secured a highly credible 49th position overall.

He added: “I was lucky enough to watch Ben Ainslie win his gold medal in the 2012 Olympics in Weymouth, and Ian Percy and Bart Simpson get a silver.  My dream would be to sail in the Olympics one day, and coach younger children so they can enjoy this fantastic sport.”

The youngster is one of only a handful of young sailors in the North West to have been selected by the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) to receive professional coaching as part of a pathway, which could one day lead to a place in the British Olympic Team.

Later this year Brandon will be competing in the Topper World Championships on Lake Garda in Italy, along with five other national series events across the UK.

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