Swanage sailor beats illness to take 11th place in the world

Despite a gruelling experience, Sam Whaley who learnt to sail at Swanage Sailing Club, has achieved a personal best at the Laser World Championships in Mexico.

In a remarkable accomplishment, Sam, who is part of the British Sailing Team, finished 11th out of 126 world-class competitors. The event took place from Saturday 21st to Saturday 28th May 2022 at the Vallarta Yacht Club on the Mexican west coast.

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Sam Whaley at world sailing championship 2022
Sam Whaley

Sam Whaley at the Vallarta Yacht Club in Mexico at the start of the world championships

“The hardest week of my entire life”

Following the impressive result, Sam Whaley said:

“By far the hardest week of my entire life, I got sick a few days into the regatta and it turned into an internal battle with myself to everyday try to perform at a respectable level.

“By the last day I was completely broken – but I forced myself to hang in there. Now looking back, it makes the reward of 11th overall/out of 126 competitors even sweeter.”

Sam Whaley competing at world sailing championship 2022
John Pounder

Sam out on the course

Just missed out on a top ten position

At the world championships in 2020, Sam finished 64th and in 2021 he finished 15th. This year he only just missed out on a position in the top ten.

All four of the British Sailing team finished within the top 20, with Elliot Hanson in 7th position, Daniel Whiteley just behind Sam in 12th, and Michael Beckett in 18th position. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz from France was the overall winner.

Sam Whaley competing at world sailing championship 2022
Sam Whaley

Sam battled through illness to finish the competition

“It’s been an absolute blast”

Sam added:

“Despite the circumstances, I’m really happy with my sailing last week – and over the last few months to be fair. It’s been an absolute blast to yacht around among the best in the world and great to make a step up in the senior fleet.

“As usual a huge thanks must go out to everyone at British Sailing Team for enabling this to happen as well as all my brilliant sponsors who have been with me at every step of the journey, especially Actisense and SailingFast.”

Sam is now back in Swanage, and returned just in time to join in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

He’s now looking forward to enjoying some well deserved time off, although he’s likely to be found not far from a boat.

Further information

  • More about Sam Whaley and his sailing career is on his website

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