Stuart Snell from Woolpit won the Sprint 15 National Championships for single handed catamaran sailing when this was held in June 2018 at the Weymouth Olympic Centre. At the age of 70 he managed to win not only the over 70s category but also the overall event!
Although he had won the Dart National Championships for two handed catamaran sailing previously his win came as a surprise. Stuart said ‘I wasn’t really expected to win as I think people had written me off. So the top sailors were all watching each other and they weren’t really keeping an eye on me. I was able to take advantage of a couple of changes in wind direction and managed to win the event before we had even sailed the final day’.
Stuart maintains his fitness for sailing with Everyone Active at the Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre, where he has a fitness membership and attends a couple of balance classes per week. He said ‘I wouldn’t have won the National Championships if I hadn’t been attending these balance classes – I genuinely mean that. A lot of sailing is about balancing and moving around the boat efficiently, and all of the balance instructors are very good’
Anselm Gurney, General Manager of Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre, said ‘Stuart is a great example of the benefits of keeping active as you get older, and shows that our classes and facilities are suitable for people of all ages. Stuart has done incredibly well to win the overall National Championships at his age, when many of the people he was competing against must have been less than half his age!’
Stuart is pictured in action and receiving a trophy from Nikki Boneface and Ben Saxton, the Current Catamaran World Champions and GB Olympic representatives.