Campbell Patton produced the best sailing of his young career on the way to a podium display at the Laser Radial Youth European Championships in Balaton, Hungary at the weekend.
The promising sailor earned the bronze medal after finishing third among the 154-strong fleet with five top ten showings — including a best finish of second — in the eight races contested in variable conditions on Lake Balaton.
“I surprised myself and it’s probably the best sailing event that I have had to date,” Patton told The Royal Gazette. “The conditions were pretty tough and we got a variation of wind strengths. It was also really tough competing against all the best guys in Europe.
“The start was probably the major component in having success in all of the races. Having good starts put you in a controlling position in the fleet and from there you can do well.”
The 17-year-old surged into third on the penultimate day of the championships but was unable to make further inroads as racing was cancelled on the final day because of light winds.
Guido Gallinaro and Matilda Talluri, both of Italy, claimed the men’s and women’s titles in the Olympic class Laser Radial dinghy. Patton was one of two Royal Bermuda Yacht Club youth sailors competing in Hungary.
Also flying the island’s flag was Taj Maxwell who finished 65th in the 77-boat Silver Fleet and 142nd overall with a best showing of 38th in the second race.
Patton had momentum going into the regatta having qualified for the next ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships at last month’s Laser Youth Easter Meeting at Lake Garda, Italy where he finished 39th in a fleet of 126-boats.
This year’s ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships will take place from July 14-22 in Corpus Christi, Texas.
“That’s going to be a real test for me, to see where I am at compared to everybody because now I know where I am with the Europeans,” Patton said.
“The Youth Worlds is the top sailors from every country in the world so that’s the real test in July. It’s exciting and the next thing to work towards and look forward to.”
Patton placed 30th in a fleet of 57 boats on his previous appearance at the Youth World Championships two years ago in Auckland, New Zealand.
“I’m definitely looking to surpass my previous performances and hoping to crack into the top ten at this next one,” he said.