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First Published Thursday, 28 May 2009

Topper Regatta

Published Date: 28 May 2009

A PUPIL from Anthony Gell School in Wirksworth has received his County Sailing Colours after becoming the Derbyshire Youth Sailing Champion.

Ben Crossdale, 16, has been sailing for five years, has sailed Topper dinghies at national and regional events and been part of the RYH North Zone squad and national JDP squad.

Those events have seen him sail on the North Sea as well as off the Welsh and south coasts and at reservoirs across the UK.

SUCCESS: Ben is pictured with his parents, headteacher David Baker and teaching assistants Carol Harrison and Cheryl Gaskin.

The youngster, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, explained how the sport enables him to relax.

He said: “When I was 13, I was diagnosed with autism and because sailing helps me to relax, I have found that I can cope with other aspects of my life.”

“Sailing makes me feel free and gives me confidence. I have made lots of friends at the sailing club and have become stronger both physically and mentally. I am now sailing a Laser Rooster 8.1 which has a sail three times the size of the Topper.”

Ben has been an active member of Derbyshire Youth Sailing for several years and in 2008, in his Laser Dinghy, he became the Derbyshire Youth Sailing County Champion by gaining the best overall result in the ten event series around all of the Derbyshire sailing clubs.

This year his aim is to defend the championship and to become a qualified dinghy instructor and to help teams from Ogston Sailing Club to support the charity Sail 4 Cancer by competing in the Southport youth 12-hour race in June and the senior 24-hour race in September.

His headteacher, David Baker, was thrilled with Ben’s success:

He said: “Ben is a charming young man who has shown great determination and perseverance to do so well in such a tough sport.We are very proud of what he has achieved.”

Source:   http://www.matlockmercury.co.uk/sport/Champion-sailor-Ben-gets-County.5306980.jp

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