Portsmouth High School sailors look to an Olympic future
Congratulations to Portsmouth High School sisters, Matilda, 14, and Flo, 13, Nicholls who have had a year of sailing success culminating in taking part in the World Championships.
The sisters were both selected to represent Great Britain in the Laser 4.7 European and World Championships. All weather conditions were thrown at the sailors during the latter week, but Matilda was able to hold her nerve and continued her summer of success by winning the World Championship Bronze Medal in the Gold Fleet for the U16 girls and 20th overall for the whole event. Younger sister Flo had an excellent week finishing 9th overall in the Silver Fleet for U18s and 3rd U16, making her the 19th ranked U16 in the World, aged just 13.
The Royal Yachting Association have encouraged Matilda to move into the Laser Radial, the women’s Olympic single-handed dinghy. At her next event, the Laser Radial Qualifier in South Shields in September, she will be competing against GB’s Olympic hopefuls for Tokyo 2020.
‘I have really enjoyed my summer in the Laser 4.7, said Matilda. ‘I worked hard throughout the last 12 months and that work has paid off fantastically well! There are not many people who win a Laser European Championship in their lives, I am thrilled to be one of them. I now intent to start sailing the larger Laser Radial. This first 12 months of transition to the Radial is good timing in my GCSE year as there will be less demand on my time for sailing as I will spend a year focussed on learning to sail the new boat, rather than competing at the highest level. My sister Flo had a really good summer as well, if she does well this September in the Trials, she stands a very good chance of being selected for the British Laser 4.7 National Squad.’
Matilda returned from her success in the World Championships to finish her Duke of Edinburgh volunteering work with Ben Ainslie Racing’s 1851 Trust, Matilda was an Assistant Instructor working with the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation team and the Portsmouth Sailing Project.