SWANAGE brothers Ben and Sam Whaley were the toast of Dorset after both winning medals at the RYA Youth National Championship.

Ben, 18, won gold in the under-19 Laser Radial fleet and was crowned RYA Youth National champion with a race to spare.

And 20-year-old Sam took bronze after finishing third overall in a hotly-contested under-21 Laser fleet.

The event, which was staged on the waters of Hayling Island, is regarded as one of the premier competitions in the youth sailing calendar and the Whaley brothers both stated their respective cases for selection to the Great Britain squad.

Ben Whaley told the Daily Echo: “Winning this year felt really good, especially after a couple of disappointments having previously finished fourth two years in a row.

“I came back fighting this year and was glad to see my hard work paid off. I really enjoyed the windier days but the tricky light-wind days also brought quite a few challenges to make the competition interesting.”

More than 380 sailors from across the United Kingdom battled variable conditions during the week with HRH The Princess Royal – president of the RYA – attending the regatta on the penultimate day.

Sam Whaley, who has already made steps towards Olympic sailing and forms part of the British Team’s Podium Potential Pathway squad, told the Daily Echo: “Winning my second medal at the under-21 nationals was great.

“Although I was slightly disappointed not to have won gold having been so close for the second year running, I have improved so much and will take these learnings into the World and European championships later this summer.”