Is Nikki our next Olympic sailor?
Catamaran sailor Nicola Boniface spoke to Expatsradio.com having continued to rack up a string of successes following her move from Youth to Senior sailing. Still only 19, she has recently been crowned Dart 18 National Champion and Formula 16 European Champion sailing with new sailing partner Tom Phipps, from Cornwall.
Nikki’s first sea fairing experiences started at the age of 4, her parents pastime of sailing necessitating her presence quayside in Pevensey, by age 7 she claims she was forcibly set aboard a sea going craft. I think this was a good thing, as Eastbourne now has a serious Olympic hope, well done parents.
Her first competitive event was partially a mistake, a replacement was needed for an injured crew, Nikki offered and held her own but had no idea she had committed to an entire weekend of competition.Whilst they didn’t win and it was extremely hardwork the event sealed her enthusiasm for the sport.
Nikki is modest and very quick to acknowledge her fortune in having the huge ability and opportunity to sail at this level, luck is also on her side (despite her current ankle injury suffered aboard a practice sail) but as we know, the harder you work the luckier you get.
With the Catamaran back in the Olympics for 2016 in the form of the new and high tech Nacra 17, required to be sailed by a mixed team, this exciting form of sailing is sure to create an interesting spectacle at the next games.
Having made the difficult move out of the RYAYouth Squad system after winning the Spitfire catamaran National Championship in September last year and with the focus of the RYA (GBR National governing body for sailing) being squarely on this year’s Olympics the way forward has not always been particularly clear and so Nikki has set her own goal ...... to represent Team GBR in Rio in 2016. Nikki has represented GBR for three consecutive years at Youth level, and with her first ISAF Youth World Championships being staged in Rio in 2009, her ambition is to revisit the venue.
Nikki and sailing partner Tom headed for Bridlington on the EastYorkshire coast to compete in the Dart 18 Nationals at the end of July. The North Sea offered a complete mixture of tricky conditions over the four day championship, and the experienced fleet of 50 boats offered close and competitive sailing.This was their first competition sailing together and so it took a while to settle in to the event, but increasing consistency through the week ensured victory on the last day.Two weeks later the new team headed for Lake Como in Italy for the Formula 16 European Championship, in completely contrasting conditions to their previous event.The F16 Catamaran is a modern high tech boat, being used by some countries as their Olympic training boat, and so the competition was of a particularly high standard. Again in a mixture of tricky conditions, typical of lake sailing, ensured good racing, but this time Nikki and Tom dominated the fleet of 45 boats from 7 different countries, leading from start to finish of the event and being crowned European Champions after six days of hard competition.
Nikki has set herself a very ambitious goal as a particularly young sailor, but she has started the journey in a very positive vain and we wish her luck with her endeavours.
What she needs over the next fours years on the build up to her first Games is the support of her home town and sponsorship encouragement wouldn’t be overlooked either!
For more information about the team, their progress and action pictures/video visit their website: www.teamwhiteboniface.webs.com
This article reproduced by kind permission of www.ethemagazine.co.uk
If you have a business in the sporting sector that would like to sponsor Nikki, please make contact with her via her website or www.ethemagazine.co.uk
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Olympic sailing hope seeks extra support
Is Nikki our next Olympic sailor?
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