Setting sail for distant waters

Setting sail for distant waters
Setting sail for distant waters

Sailing prodigy Jayden Dalton has the wind firmly at this back after securing a spot in the Australian side for the Optimist World Sailing Championships in Argentina during October.

The 14-year-old finished third out of more than 350 entrants in the Optimist National Championships in Melbourne earlier this month.

Now the young champ is looking forward to the prospect of sailing on the other side of the world.

“I’m just really happy and excited, ” he said.

“I’ve sailed overseas before in Singapore and New Zealand – it’s not hugely different, you just have to learn the tide and current.”

Dalton first took to the water four years ago with the Bunbury Sailing Club but has spent the last two years training out of Fremantle.

As well as finishing third overall as an individual, Dalton also played a key role in securing equal second for the WA Under-15s Optimist team.

“I really enjoy team racing because it is not just about trying to finish first individually, you have to work together to try and force your opponents into mistakes, ” he said.

Dalton said sailing was as taxing mentally as it was physically – one of the main reasons he enjoys it so much.

“The wind changes all over the place so you have to race smart and know what you are doing at all times, ” he said.

“You have to read the conditions and there is a lot of technicality in the boats.

“For instance if your ties slip and stretch too far you can be disqualified for sailing illegally.

“Your sails and your rudder and everything have to be checked off and signed.

“I probably spend about an hour before every race just making sure the boat is up to standard.”

Dalton will now take part in an Australian Optimist sailing team training camp next month before heading to the New Zealand Optimist Nationals in April.

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