Sailor Benji Daniel is headed for Chinese waters at the Youth World Championships, to be held on Hainan Island from December 10 to 15, 2017. With an expected 400 sailors from 70 countries, the crème-de-la-crème of the next generation of international sailors will go up against each other in nine classes.
Benji, who was crowned the 29er World Champion with Alex Burger in Alamitos Bay, Long Beach in August, will be changing it up. He trades in his familiar 29er to compete in the 420 class and will be sailing with Rivaldo Arendse, from Cape Town.
This will be the Point Yacht Club’s star sailor’s third youth world champs, having raced in the 29er fleet with Durban’s Chad Stevenson in Langkawi, Malaysia in 2015 and then in Auckland, New Zealand in December 2016.
With his last exam scheduled for December 1, the Grade 11 pupil at Thomas More College will be handing in his paper and then dashing to the airport to fly down to Cape Town for some last-minute training with coach, former Olympic sailor Roger Hudson.
“For Rivaldo and me, this is very much a getting to know you phase, so we aren’t going to put any unnecessary pressure on ourselves,” Benji says. “It will be a major learning curve for us, but so long
as we stick to the basics, we will be alright.”
– Sophie Thompson