Merryn Attridge National Champion
Merryn Attridge, age 14, was crowned Topper 5.3 National Champion this summer! Hosted by the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, 110 sailors took part in the 5.3 Topper Championship over the course of five days and 10 races. The sailors were split into gold and silver fleets after two days of qualifying and four races in total. Merryn qualified in 7thplace and joined the gold fleet of 55 sailors. The final three days involved six races, where Merryn secured a 3rd, 4th, 1st, 1st, 8th and 5th place respectively.
“I was fairly relaxed going into the final race as I knew I had already secured the title. The weather conditions were perfect for me all week, with light winds, allowing me to sail to the best of my ability.”
Merryn started sailing at the age of six at Swarkestone Sailing Club and then began racing with Derbyshire Youth Sailing. He started sailing a Topper at the age of nine, but his first national series competition did not go so well; with his results ending up at the other end of the leader board! This really shows his dedication and improvement over the past five years.
Adam Millington, Merryn’s coach at the Nationals comments, “He was calm and collected on the water and gave it his all to secure the lead. He’s a fantastic sailor and has a great future ahead of him!”
Merryn, who lives in Weymouth, is a Sailing Scholar and full-time boarder at RHS, which allows him to sail twice a week as part of the RHS Elite Sailing Academy.
“I really enjoy living with my friends and sailing with other elite young sailors, particularly Sebastian Kempe, who was World Youth Champion in the ILCA6 last year. He is a fabulous role model and has given me lots of racing advice. Mr Sibson, Director of Sailing at RHS, coaches me every week which has really helped me to improve my racing skills.”
Mr Sibson comments on his win; “This was Merryn’s final Topper championship, and we are thrilled that he has gone out at the top of the UK fleet. He sailed a consistent series during the championship and has shown real commitment to learn new skills and improve his fitness. We were also delighted to provide him with some equipment for his boat which contributed to his success. We wish him much luck in the Endeavour Trophy this weekend, where he represents the Topper Class in an RS200 against other class national champions in Burnham on Crouch.”
Merryn also took part in the Topper World Championships at Lake Garda in the summer, where he finished in a very credible 14th place. Merryn also captained the RHS team last weekend at the NSSA (National Schools Sailing Association) Single Handed Team Racing Championship, where the team took the top spot.
In the future Merryn is keen to sail a 29er and ILCA4 and aspires to sail in the Olympics one day.