Hannah Diamon (pictured here with Nikki Boniface) won a Bronze medal at the ISAF World Cup in Miami

Alumni sailors enjoy medal haul at Miami World Cup

Sailing alumni from the University of Exeter have helped the RYA British Sailing Team to an impressive medal haul at the ISAF World Cup event in Miami.

The ISAF Sailing World Cup is an annual series for Olympic sailing events which sees over 2,000 of the world’s leading sailors from 75 nations compete over six separate weeks of competition around the world. 

The British team finished the Miami leg of elite regattas, 25 January - 1 February, with 11 medals, four of which came from crews featuring former University of Exeter students.

Alumna Sophie Weguelin (Exercise & Sports Science, 2011) and partner Eilidh McIntyre took the team’s first gold. The pair came from behind in the 470 medal race to secure the gold having won six of their seven races.

Narca 17 class World Sailing Championship runners up Hannah Diamond (Exercise and Sports Science, 2011) and Ben Saxton also enjoyed success, taking bronze in their event. Nicola Groves (Biosciences, 2010) and partner Frances Peters leapfrogged their Brazilian rivals in the 49erFX class in the last day of racing to add another bronze to the tally, with Nick Thompson (Exercise and Sports Science, 2008) also securing a third in the Laser event.

The RYA British Sailing Team’s performance saw them top the medal board in Miami, leaving them third in the overall standings with two European legs remaining. Meanwhile the result sees the Weguelin-McIntyre and Diamond-Saxton pairings now ranked #1 in the ISAF World Rankings for their classes.

Former University of Exeter Sports Scholar Hannah Commented: “The competition was really good. We went out to Miami the week before the competition for the North American Championships which we used as preparation.

“Our category was really close which is what we expected, with top sailors from Europe, Australia and the USA all competing. We were unlucky to get a scoring penalty on the first day which was a shame, but were pleased to overtake Spain in the final event. It was a stressful last race, but we finished where we wanted in the end.”

“It was good to be able to race this early in the season, and now we are focussed on the European leg of the World cup in April.”

Alongside a stream of successful alumni, the University of Exeter currently supports British Sailing Team Podium Potential Squad sailors, Martin Evans, Mike Wood and Kirstie Urwin, alongside Team Podium windsurfer Izzy Hamilton who is currently taking a year out from her studies to compete full time.

Assistant Director of Sport (Performance and Competitions), Nick Beasant said: “We have an excellent relationship with the RYA and work with them to provide the very best support network possible for our student sailors.

“All of our top sailors travel to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy to train with as part the RYA British Sailing Team’s Podium or Podium Potential Squads. We aim to bring balance to their sailing and academic commitments and provide off-water training support. Many of the nation’s top sailors are also high academic achievers so it is important that we continue to offer them the flexibility they need to study at a top University whilst regularly competing around the globe at top level international events.”

Date: 3 February 2014