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Hannah has the wind in her sails
Around the Academy:

Picture courtesy of John Nash
In sailing you pit your wits against the elements

Hannah Mills is one of the world's top young sailors.

Here she tells us all about life on the ocean wave!




I first got into sailing during a family holiday to Cornwall.

I really enjoyed it and when the holidays were over I decided to go along to my local sailing club in Cardiff.

Don't worry if you don't live by the sea or don't have your own boat. I didn't!

When you're starting out clubs are only too happy to let you borrow all the equipment you need.

And if you live inland it's not a problem either because you can sail on lakes and reservoirs.

When you start out learning to sail it's likely to be in a boat called an Optimist which is designed specially for kids.

In 2003 I won the Optimist World Championship for girls. I also finished fifth overall, making me the best-placed British sailor in the competition's history.

By now I've moved up to the 420 which is a slightly bigger boat for two people.

Picture courtesy of John Nash

I sail with my friend Peggy Webster who used to compete alongside me in the Optimist class.

During term time we train most weekends while races, known as regattas, are held during the holidays.

Regattas involve a series of races held over several days and you're awarded points depending on your finishing position.

It doesn't all rest on the result of one race. Instead, you've got to be consistently good.

In sailing, it's not just the other competitors you've got to watch out for. You're also pitting yourself against the elements.

You've got to keep a constant eye out for signs the conditions are about to change.

The more you sail, the more experienced you become at predicting weather shifts.

The ideal sailing conditions would be sunny with quite a big swell and a fair bit of wind.

But be warned, when it gets very windy it can get pretty scary out there!

You've also got to have a lot of tactical awareness. Then there's the technical side - knowing how to steer the boat and make it change speed and direction.

Most of all sailing is really good fun. I've travelled all over the world and met some fantastic people.


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Hannah's facts
Name: Hannah Mills
Date of Birth: 29 Feb 1988
Other sports: Hockey
Music: RnB, hip-hop and pop
Hobbies: Cinema


INTERNET LINKS >>
:: Royal Yachting Association
:: Hannah's official site
:: Hannah's race diary

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


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