News & Achievements

World Class high sea adventure for Truro High School pupil

A nine-year-old Truro High School pupil spent Christmas in Australia notching up creditable performances in both the 14th Mirror Dinghy World Championships and the Australian National Mirror Dinghy Championships.

Ruth Smith, a year five pupil at the top performing school, was one of the youngest competitors to take part in the prestigious competition which took place at the Princess Royal Sailing Club, Albany, Western Australia between December 26 2010 and January 7 2011.

She was crewing for Cornish helmsman, Martin Egan, her sailing instructor at Restronguet Sailing Club, which is based at Mylor Harbour.

Ruth began sailing only 18 months ago, soon after she moved to Cornwall with her family. In December 2009 Mr Egan asked her parents if they would allow her to crew for him in the 2010 World Championships. They agreed and the pair began an intensive training period that included numerous local, regional and national competitions, culminating in a place in the World Championships sailing under the Union Flag.

Ruth said: “It was a bit scary at first because it was the biggest competition I had ever done but when I got out there I felt much better. We’d heard there were sharks in the water and I did see a Hammerhead so that was a bit scary too but it was so exciting. At one point it was really windy and we were going really fast during a reach (when the wind is on the side of the boat) – that was the best bit of the whole competition.”

Martin said Ruth’s determination and enthusiasm were major reasons he asked her to crew for him during the competition.

“It was a great experience for both of us,” he said. “Ruth always takes an active part in the crewing and shows excellent potential for a future career and future competitions.”

Ruth’s mum, Ali, said: “It has been a fantastic experience for Ruth. During the World Championships she competed in up to four races a day for five days. The grit and determination she needed was amazing.”

Ali explained that Truro High School has put photographs and press cuttings about Ruth’s Australian adventure on the school notice board and asked her to share her experiences with the whole school during one assembly.

“We are so proud of Ruth and so grateful to everyone at Truro High for the support and encouragement they have shown. Ruth has just blossomed since she joined the school, they make all the girls feel special,” Ali said.

Truro High School Headmistress and former British Olympic rower Caroline Pascoe said: “Ruth is a talented young lady and we are delighted to help, encourage and support her with her sailing ambitions. She showed amazing courage and ability during what were challenging sailing conditions. She’s a great example to her peers.”

With Martin’s help Ruth is now planning to take the helm herself and has her sights set on competing in her own boat in the next World Championships due to take place in Ireland in 2013.

Published by: Darren Stevens

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