The skills of two young sailors who won a medal at the recent National Feva Championships should, perhaps, come as no surprise, as both are the children of world-class sailors.
It was a first-time sailing partnership for Russell Coutts’ son Mattias and Aimee Bright, daughter of Olympic board sailor Barbara Kendall.
Barbara and Russell met when both represented New Zealand at the Barcelona Olympics, and Aimee met Mattias when they were in Year 7 at Whangaparaoa College.
Now aged 13, Aimee and Mattias raced together in the two-handed Feva against adults, coming away from the Nationals last month with a Bronze medal.
While Mattias has already notched up several years’ national and international experience and is reportedly “obsessed with sailing”, Aimee has focused on other sports, including water polo, and only learned to sail 18 months ago at Manly Sailing Club with the Russell Coutts Foundation.
Initially Aimee was not keen on sailing, but her parents asked her to stick at it until she had the basics.
After six months, she began to enjoy herself and it appears she now has a taste for fast boats. The Nationals was only her second time in a Feva and, in 20-knot winds, it was at times a wild ride, especially downwind.
“I didn’t have time to be scared because I was concentrating,” Aimee says.
Far from being put off by the experience, she is now interested in trying the 29er class – a high performance, bigger and faster boat, with a single trapeze.
“I really like the sound of that,” she says.