2019 BYA winner: Matilda Nicholls

Last year saw Matilda Nicholls take silver at the Laser Radial Youth Worlds. Could she go one better in 2019? The season started well for the 17-year-old from Aldeburgh YC in Suffolk, winning the under-19 and under-21 RYA Youth Nationals. A summer of class championships lay ahead, but so did something else: Matilda’s A Levels. Not every teenager has it in them to prepare for major championships while studying for History, Psychology and French, but less than a week after finishing her final paper in the UK, Matilda was on the startline of the Europeans in Athens where she finished eighth, followed by a fifth at the Youth Worlds in Poland. Then a flight to Canada and Lake Ontario, up against 208 sailors from 36 countries. The result was outstanding, a victory by 13 points and one that has deservedly elevated her to the senior British Sailing Team, all before she has turned 18. And the A Levels? She got them too and she’s off to Exeter University next year, studying Psychology.