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Impressive finish for Oakham School duo in world showpiece

Oakham School sailors
Oakham School sailors

Two pupils from Oakham School have placed an impressive 12th in the world after competing in the 2018 RS Feva World Championships.

Ollie Bunce and Archie Baker, along with 10 other students from Oakham and more than a hundred sailors from across the world, all travelled to Florida to take part in the event.

The pair, who are both just 15 years old, learned how to sail at Rutland Water and have been honing their skills over the past four years.

They were part of the regional squad last year and have now experienced being part of the national squad and have the title of 12th in the world under their belts.

Director of Sailing Nick Neve said: “The trip was a resounding success for all of our sailors, not just Ollie and Archie.

“Each pair performed incredibly well, especially in individual races where they placed, in their best races, in 11th, 19th, 20th and 23rd position.

“Particular praise must go to Jude Solomans and Fred Gwinnett, who had limited time sailing together due to a late change in partnership.

“They ranked an impressive 24th in the world for one of their races – it is an astonishing feat they were able to adapt to sailing together so quickly, especially given their young age.”

Success wasn’t limited to what happened on the water though.

In true Oakham style, one of their sailors won a ‘Good Egg’ award! When Alex Brown had to sit out a day, due to his partner’s injury, he helped and supported sailors of all nations with their boats after a day of particularly energy sapping sailing.

The students enjoyed the week-long ‘champagne sailing conditions’ in the Gulf of Mexico at the Clearwater Community Sailing Centre during the event.

It was quite different to what they are used to on Rutland Water. They even had to work to avoid some of the local wildlife – dolphin dodging was certainly a new, albeit amazing, experience for them all.

While this is the first time the RS Feva World Championships have been held outside of Europe, it’s certainly not the first time Oakham’s sailors have taken part.

Indeed, teams from Oakham have sailed at the World Championships every year since 2007 – enjoying a variety of successes – notably at last year’s event, which was held in Holland, when Spike Marlow and James Mansfield came away with junior bronze.

Neve continued: “Oakham has a national reputation for sailing.

“We have an incredible pool of home-grown sailing talent - including current student Maddy Kirk who is set to compete this year in the Youth Nationals Championships at Largs, the National Championships at Hayling Island and the European Championships in Helsinki along with Old Oakhamian Emily Nagel (12) who is currently competing in the Volvo Ocean Race.”


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