APPLECROSS sailor Zac Littlewood has only been on the water for eights years but, after an inspired performance at last month’s Laser Radial World Championships, is already turning heads on the global stage.
The 16-year-old stunned the sailing fraternity to finish third out of more than 70 experienced sailors at Medemblik in the Netherlands.
Perhaps most surprised was Zac himself, who was backing up from a 10th place finish at the Laser Radial Youth World Championships just two days before.
“I came 10th out of around 280 sailors in the Under-19 category but my results at the Australian Nationals qualified me for both events so I decided to have a crack at the men’s open too,” he said.
“My main focus was to gain some experience on an international stage and just learn as much as possible because you don’t get too many chances to race in big fleets in Australia.”
After the first day of sailing Zac was in 33rd position overall but from there things began to click, and he steadily worked his way up to third with five podium finishes in the remaining eight races.
When the final day of the regatta was called off because conditions were too calm, Zac collected his bronze medal alongside winner and five-time world champion Marcin Rudawski of Poland.
Introduced to sailing when he was eight years old by his grandmother Anne, Zac said he fell in love with the sport from day one.
Zac is the reigning WA Laser Radial State Champion and has been accepted into the WA Institute of Sport.
He now hopes to qualify for the Australian Sailing Youth Team at the Australian Youth Championships in Queensland in January.