LYMINGTON sailor Jess Eales is gearing up for the biggest week of her career as she prepares to represent Great Britain at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships.

Eales, 16, jetted off to Portugal this week ahead of the event which kicks off tomorrow with the youth regatta starting on Monday.

The Brockenhurst College student will line up for the British Youth Sailing Team in the mixed multihull SL16 class alongside helm Oli Greber, who won bronze in the same event last year.

More than 365 of the world’s future Olympic hopefuls from 63 different nations are set to con-verge on Clube Náutico de Tavira, located on the west side of the Algarve, for the eight-day regatta.

Eales, who won selection following her gold-medal winning performance at the RYA Youth National Championships in Weymouth and Portland in April, said: “I’ve never had an opportunity quite like this.

“It is guaranteed to be an incredibly challenging and testing event with not only the pressure you’re putting yourself under to do well, but also the pressure from wanting to do your best for everyone who has helped you progress along the way.”

The Royal Lymington Yacht Club member continued: “From Oli’s experience of the event last year, I know the competition from the rest of the world is incredibly tough with a lot of nations producing worthy contenders for medals.

“The conditions are definitely going to be hot, which presents a real challenge to overcome.

“It’s also a sea breeze venue, which should work to our advantage as we’re expecting to be one of the heavier teams out there, so decent wind strength will be beneficial to us.”

Eales is among 10 Brits who will be making their ISAF Youth Worlds debuts in Tavira, while the remaining two competed in Cyprus 12 months ago.

There are a maximum of 13 races scheduled for the five youth classes with the medals due to be decided on Friday, July 18.

British Youth Sailing Team for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships 2014:

420 boys: Tim Riley (Warsash SC)/James Taylor (Hayling Island SC). 420 girls: Sarah Norbury (South Staffordshire SC)/Mari Davies (Club Hwylio Pwllheli). 

29er: Owen Bowerman (Hayling Island SC)/Morgan Peach (Royal Torbay YC).

RS:X boys: Robert York (Skegness) RS:X girls: Imogen Sills (Roadford Lake SC). 

Laser Radial boys: Jamie Calder (Loch Tummel/Royal Forth YC). Laser Radial girls: Ellie Cumpsty (Chew Valley Lake SC). 

SL16 Catamaran: Olivier Greber (Pevensey Bay)/ Jess Eales (Royal Lymington YC).