Georgina Povall, just 17, recalls that is only a few seasons since she entered the NSBA’s Broadland Youth Regatta as her first major event. By last Autumn, as rescue helicopters scoured the skies searching for a sinking ship, she was squad training in gale force winds off the North Welsh coast. The transformation from rookie to serious competitive sailor has seen Georgina rise through the ranks of Britain’s top female Laser sailors. Her progress was recognised by the NSBA at its AGM (November) when it awarded her the Tim Whelpton Trophy for young sailing achievement at national or international level.
The one-off trophy, a silver representation of the proa Crossbow at speed, was donated to the Norfolk and Suffolk Boating Association by Ann Whelpton, Tim’s Widow. Tim built Crossbow and sailed her with Sir Timothy Colman when she took the world speed sailing record, and was the first sailing boat to be timed at over 30 miles per hour.
Georgina Povall’s schedule for the last 12 months illustrates the height of her achievement. During that period she has been transitioning from the smaller Laser 4.7 rig to the ladies’ Olympic class, the Laser Radial, having already progressed through the Topper and Laser 4.7 National Junior Squads. She competed in the Radial at national qualification events in the spring of 2011 and was selected for the RYA GBR National youth squad, ranked third girl overall in the UK.
At the RYA Youth National Championships at Hayling Island in March this year, Georgina was third youth girl and posted a top five finish in the last race.
In July she took bronze at the Laser 4.7 European Championships at Workum in the Netherlands. In the senior and even more competitive Laser Radial fleet, she was placed sixth overall, third youth and first GBR sailor in the Europa Cup at Warnemunde in Germany.
Following that, she attended her first Radial Youth Worlds at La Rochelle, France. Still finder her feet there, she exceeded expectations, both qualifying for the gold fleet and posting top ten results. The summer season finale was an invitation to train with the Olympic development squad at Weymouth.
Georgina still enjoys sailing in Norfolk, particularly her home club, Hickling Broad SC, which she describes as the best in the county. This autumn she sailed again in the NSBA’s Broadland Youth Regatta, held there. Sailing a double-handed RS Feva with fellow club member Rebecca Sheldrake, they together won the trophy for top helm and crew.
As well as the Tim Whelpton Trophy, Georgina has been nominated for the RYA Sports Aid, Lloyds TSB ‘Local Heroes’ scheme. But in case anybody thinks Georgina’s life is one track, this summer she studied hard to gain 9 GCSEs, seven of them A or A*. She also found time to earn a dinghy instructor qualification.
Also at the AGM, Mark Wells presented Mollie Howes with Life Membership of the Association, in recognition of her long service on the General Purposes Committee. For most of that period she was the organiser of the Association’s Inter-Club Championship, the Ramuz Trophy.
Prof. Richard Card was elected the NSBA’s new Chairman. He takes over from Mark Wells, standing down after three years in the post.