A TEENAGE sailor from Thorpe Bay has battled his way through to win a place in the Great Britain team, who will take on the rest of the world in one of yachting’s most competitive youth classes.
But cadet dinghy racer Alex Warrington is no stranger to international honours in the two-man dinghy which has been a testing ground for many Olympic champions.
Warrington, a 17-year-old student at Shoebury High School, has already been to the worlds four times – as a both crewman and helmsman.
And this time he’ll again have the tiller in his hand for the major championship which will be held off Weymouth in August.
He said: “Last time around I was 12th overall in the worlds so this time I’d like to secure a top ten position.
“I like it to be as rough conditions as possible for the event – plenty of wind and waves. But the class rules say that they won’t race in anything above 35knots of wind so it can’t be too windy.
“It’s the last chance for me to make more of a mark on the class because the rules effectively exclude 18-year-olds from racing, so this is definitely my last worlds,” he added.
On the water - Alex Warrington with his sailing partner, Suffolk's Anna Wootton
Warrington – who will be crewed this year by Suffolk-based sailor Anna Wootton – first went to the world championship as a GB team member as a nine-year-old when the event was held in Wales.
Aged just ten he crewed at the worlds again, this time in the Dutch sailing centre of Medemblik.
And his final year crewing was in Buenos Aires in Argentina as an 11-year-old.
Then came the change from the front of the boat – where the crewman controls the jib and spinnaker – to the back of the boat where the helmsman steers and looks after the mainsheet.
And in this new position he excelled again, getting through the selection process for the British team and competed at Nieuwpoort in Belgium last summer.
But Warrington’s sailing skills do not stop at the cadet class.
He’s regularly been seen racing everything from Pico and Feva dinghies through to Sandhopper keelboats and even ultra-fast Hurricane catamarans.
His path to GB squad selection this time around involved a tough series of selection regattas at Datchet Water reservoir in West London, in Weymouth and at Stone SC on the River Blackwater.
His mother, Beverley Warrington, said the teenager was juggling AS Levels, learning to drive and trying to make sure he and his crew were as ready as possible for the world championships.
“He’s really looking forward to the worlds – and then he’ll be out of the class so it’s a big one for him.”
But Alex himself has his eye set on a new marine adventure, spending time at the United Kingdom Sailing Academy in Weymouth where he will transfer his small boat racing skills into big yacht skills and learn about navigation, boat handling, sail changing and the million and one other things a large yacht skipper needs to know.
He said: “In sailing you can go down the dinghy route or the big boat pathway. And I fancy learning as much as I can about big boats so I can have a possible career and make the most of the lifestyle.