TOP SKIPPER: Seisia Mair, 13, is the youngest skipper in the SB20 sailing world championship.
TOP SKIPPER: Seisia Mair, 13, is the youngest skipper in the SB20 sailing world championship. Jane Austin

Local teenager races the world

SAILING: As a six-year-old, Seisia Mair cruised the Pacific on her parents' yacht and now, aged 13, she has been the youngest skipper in the SB20 sailing world championship raced this week on Hobart's River Derwent.

In the years between the cruise and the Worlds, the Sunshine Coast teenager has raced single-handed Sabot dinghies. Recently for the first time she set foot on an SB20, a high-performance one-design sports boat, let alone steered one.

"It was quite an experience steering one of these boats for the first time ... it's going to be a huge challenge racing against such outstanding sailors from around the world,” Seisia said.

"I think we handled the boat, Persian Princess, quite well in our first sail.”

Seisia is a member of Lake Cootharaba Sailing Club on the Sunshine Coast. Last week she sailed her Sabot to sixth place overall in the National Championship in Brisbane.

Seisia's crew for the SB20 worlds will be her brother Darcy Mair (15) and two 18-year-olds, Mara Stransky-Smith and Indiabeau Laborie.

Her father Duncan bought Persian Princess in Hobart before the world championship and plans to take the yacht back to Lake Cootharaba where he hopes to develop an SB20 fleet.

Seisia Mair is the youngest skipper in the worlds but not the youngest sailor; Hugo Allison (12) from Hobart is in the crew of the Victorian boat Ikon20, skippered by Kirwan Robb, while Launceston lad Bailey Fisher (14) is on aboard Paul Burnell's Honey Badger.

The SB20 sailing world championship were due to wind up yesterday w ith a fleet of 59 international challenging for the top trophies.