IT’S NOT every 13-year-old girl who can claim to be a world sailing champion!
But Rebecca Lewis beat youngsters up to five years her senior when she clinched the title in Denmark last week.
The Ashlawn School student from Clifton is the RS Tera World Ladies Champion. Competing at the Aabenraa Sailing Club against 26 youngsters from around the globe in the Pro sail event, she finished fourth overall behind three boys and was the top female.
And incredibly, Rebecca had only moved up to the bigger Pro sail just two weeks before.
She had previously been competing in the Sports class, with which she was third lady last year and 12th overall.
She trains over the winter with the Great Britain squad, at different sailing clubs around the country.
She already has plenty of experience, having started sailing when she was just nine, at first with her dad, Martyn, in a Miracle Dinghy.
Rebecca then took her RYA course at Draycote Water Sailing Club where she fell in love with the Tera.
She started doing competitive sailing in the RS Tera a year later.
Rebecca, who was in second place in Denmark overall after four races, enjoys windy conditions, but they weren’t always to her liking. “There was either lots of wind or no wind,” she explained. “I’m better in heavy winds.
“You have to be very strong for sailing. Sometimes when it’s very windy it can be a bit scary. I don’t always like going down wind then as you can end up getting thrown out of the boat!”
Rebecca, who goes to the gym three times a week, added: “It feels very good to be world champion and I’d also like to win the overall title in future.
“When I won I felt very proud on the rostrum with the flags flying and they played the national anthem.”
In 2010 Rebecca became the UK National Champion, beating all the boys and girls.
Gul support Rebecca with all her sailing gear, which is just as well as the sport is something of a family affair.
As well as her dad being an accomplished sailor, her two younger brothers seem to be following in her footsteps. In Denmark Daniel, 10, was 11th in the Sports class out of 46 boats. He has only been sailing for a year, but was third in the UK nationals.
And Jack, 8, who has only been in his boat for three months also sailed at the worlds and was 22nd out of 46. Both boys go to Clifton Primary School.