Young Grainthorpe sailor aims high after European qualification

A Louth sailor is hoping a new sponsorship deal will help him fulfil his potential after being forced to miss out on his international debut.

Henry first fell in love with the sport of sailing as a seven-year-old EMN-200224-122017002

Henry Redmond performed well enough in national domestic competition to qualify for the Eurilca Laser 4.7 European Championships.

But the Grainthorpe teenager’s chance to compete against Europe’s best young sailors in Portugal were dashed by a lack of funding.

Yet Henry, who has a regional title on his CV, is now looking upwards again after securing sponsorship from Louth company FirstMedia.

In the BBC Radio Lincolnshire studios for interview after his regional success EMN-200224-122006002

“I was so happy when I clicked onto the results for who qualified for the European Championships,” he said.

“But it was so unexpected, I hadn’t budgeted for it, and unfortunately it was far too expensive to attend.

He added: “Sailing is my true passion, and I love the way everyone comes together at events like a family.

“Doing the NEYTS, I met one of my best mates.

With Ian Hargreaves of new sponsors FirstMedia EMN-200224-122027002

“Now having FirstMedia as my sponsor, I look forward to working with them and seeing where my sailing takes me.”

The Louth Academy pupil has risen quickly through the Laser 4.7 ranks since first stepping into a boat as a seven-year-old.

At the age of eight he passed Level 1 and 2 Royal Yachting Association dinghy courses, and spent the next four years practicing at Covenham Reservoir in a Laser Pico.

But the youngster wanted to take his sailing further, and when dad Martin bought himself a Laser 1, he soon found his son making more use of the new craft.

In 2017 Henry made his debut, aged 12, in the RYA North East Youth Racing Series (NEYTS) and finished in a highly creditable fifth.

“This was a massive learning curve for Henry, because he realised he was not only a passionate, well-taught sailor, but had a real talent for it,” said mum Helen.

Keen to get his boat back, Martin bought his son a Laser 1 of his own – which he christened Black Magic – and used it to finish second in NEYTS the following year.

Entering his first Laser event at Scaling Dam SC, Henry beat rivals more than twice his age to finish seventh.

Looking to compete in national laser events, meant a newer boat was needed to meet regulations, and No. 206939 was added to a growing fleet.

Competing in the UK Laser Association series helped improve results further, earning him the best result of his fledgling career - the North East Youth title, topping a field of 101 other boats.

Results have continued to improve in the UKLA series, including the European qualification, and Henry will now be doubly determined to qualify again.

Henry added: “I have just less than a year to train and get better and better, and will give it my best shot at qualifying again next year.”