Name: Leo Wilkinson
Date of birth: May 2004
Home sailing club: Maidenhead Sailing Club
Current Class: 29er
Interesting fact: I can count to 10 with my eyes closed
Favourite sailing achievement: Winning the Topper 2019 World Championships & Winning the Topper Irish Nationals 2018
Age I learnt to sail and type of boat: Aged 9 in a Topper
Sailing role model: Ian Walker
Favourite sailing venue: Paignton
Favourite boat: 29er
I’m a 29er sailor but bought an Aero in February for club racing. This proved very fortuitous with lockdown and cancellation of my GCSEs, allowing me to sail as soon as singlehanded watersports were allowed. With all the 29er events for the summer cancelled, I decided to enter the RS Aero 5 Nationals at Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club.
The first day was classic Eastbourne rolling waves and a fresh 16-18 knots. I was very pleased to gain two 3rd places and start the event consistently. Day two, with a challenging offshore 18-22 knots, lead to a 6th, 5th and 4th. Racing on day 3 was postponed until late afternoon due to 30-knot gusts, but we got three races in with a 1st and two 7ths for me in the tightest racing all week. The bullet was gained after starting the race-blind as my glasses had been knocked off by somebody’s boom!
The final day saw the very light wind. The first race was all about the tide with a shifty light offshore wind where I got away with a 5th, although this was a lot of people’s discard. We then had a 2-hour on-water postponement waiting for the wind to flick 180˚ and the light the sea breeze to fill in. It was still all about the tide and I finished with an 8th, which ended up being my highest discard.
My good consistency leads to me finishing 3rd Overall and 1st Youth, which I was really pleased with for my first Aero event.
Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club put a huge amount of work into planning the event and getting COVID approval to go ahead; it was brilliantly organised. Thanks to Allen for the frictionless rings for my over-deck controls – it made getting controls on much smoother in the windy conditions.