Brother and sister both gold medallists at Volvo youth championships receive award at London Boat Show

A pair of talented dinghy skippers – brother and sister James and Frances Peters, from Hayling Island, scooped the Raymarine Young Sailor of the Year Award to jointly share the prestigious title.

Former winners of the award include Ellen MacArthur and Ben Ainslie.

James and Frances both sail in the 29er class – a three-sail performance dinghy class – considered a feeder boat for the Olympic 49er class and any other type of performance sailing. They both acheived gold medals at this years’s ISAF youth world championships in Denmark, taking the men’s and women’s classes with their crews Ed Fitzgerald and Claire Lasko. James and his crew also won the European Championship.

I spoke to James and Frances, aged 16 and 17, after the awards to find out what their future sailing plans involved. James has already moved up to the 49er class and is aiming realistically for the 2016 Olympics. Frances is concentrating on her A-Levels – biology, chemistry and maths – but also has an eye on a future Olympics. ‘I’d like to sail a skiff in the Olympics when there is a skiff class for women. At the moment I’m concentrating on academic work and looking forward to doing a degree in biomedical sciences.’

The ceremony kicked off at just after 4pm on Saturday at the main stage at London ExCel, with 12 of the 13 RYA regional Young Sailor of the year award winners being presented with trophies by round the world yacht racer, Alex Thomson.

The Raymarine award had a shortlist of four: James and Frances, who were also winners of the RYA south award, Elliot Hanson, a 14-year-old topper World and National champion and winner of the NW regional award, and Alex Hovden, a disabled sailor who was awarded Thames Valley regional award and is a member of the transitional squad for the 2012 paralympics in Weymouth. The fourth nominee was Martin Evans, the Under 17 European Champion at the Laser Radial Youth Worlds.

Photo: OnEdition