Cossie Lewis will pit her wits against more than 250 of the continent’s best young sailors this summer. This comes after being selected to represent Great Britain at the Magic Marine 2015 Optimist European Championships in Pwllheli, North Wales.
Cossie Lewis, 13, booked her place in the eight-strong British team for July’s Europeans after impressing in the selection trials at the London 2012 Olympic sailing venue at Weymouth and Portland over the May Bank Holiday weekend.
The Optimist junior sailing class is widely regarded as the breeding ground for future international sailing success with four-time Olympic champion and America’s Cup winner Sir Ben Ainslie a former Optimist sailor. Over 90% of sailors at London 2012 raced Optimists as juniors, including TeamGB medalists Hannah Mills, Saskia Clark, Iain Percy, Andrew Simpson and Luke Patience.
The Magic Marine 2015 Optimist European Championships get underway on Friday 17 July, with a total of five days of racing before the prizes are presented on Thursday 23 July. Some 255 sailors from 37 nations, including from outside Europe, will be racing on Cardigan Bay.
Cossie, who competes for both the Sevenoaks School Sailing Club and Bosham Sailing Club in West Sussex, admits she can’t wait to get out there.
She said: “The Europeans is the biggest event I have been selected for to date. After last year’s Nationals I sat down with my coach, Matt Rainback, and discussed my goal, which was to get to the European Championships. All my racing and training during the last few months was focussed towards this goal, so I was thrilled to achieve it!
“I am really looking forward to the event, particularly sailing against such tough international competition. I’m still working out my goal, however ideally it would be to get into Gold fleet, which is the top third of all boats for the final series.”
Cossie, who lives in Wandsworth, South London, has previously been selected for British teams to compete in major Optimist regattas in Braassemermeer in The Netherlands (2014 and 2015), while she says her best recent achievement was coming 30th out of 538 competitors at the International Palamos Optimist Trophy regatta in Spain in February.
This will be the first time in the Championship’s official 32-year history that the Optimist Europeans will be held in Great Britain, and only the second time the event has been hosted on UK waters since Belfast in 1993. The 2015 Europeans are also set to be the first event hosted at the new Plas Heli Welsh Sailing Academy in Pwllheli.