SWANAGE sailor Sam Whaley described the 2022 ILCA 7 World Championship as the hardest six days of his life – as he notched up a personal best 11th-place finish.

From 64th in 2020 to 15th in the 2021 event, Whaley was within touching distance of the top 10 at this year’s regatta in Mexico.

All four of the British Sailing team athletes came inside the top 20 of the 126-boat fleet for the second year in a row.

Whaley, 25, said: “I’m over the moon with the result.

“The heat combined with some illness made the event the hardest six days of my entire life.

“However, I’m really happy with how I’ve been sailing and it’s great to knock in another solid result in such a high-profile fleet.”

Whaley moved in to the top 10 with two second-place finishes of the six-race qualifying series.

He remained there through the six-race finals before eventually dropping a spot on the final day.

He added: “It was great to also knock in another solid worlds performance with Dan (Whiteley), together with Micky (Beckett) and Elliot (Hanson) - we’ve got a really good squad going at the moment.”

The top Brit was Tokyo 2020 Olympian Hanson, who was knocking on the door of a podium finish right until the final day of the competition.