MERSEA’S David Labrouche and his Great Britain team have scooped a top sailing award.

The team received the Yachts and Yachting Young Sailor of the Year award after claiming bronze at last year’s Optimist World Championships in Italy.

Labrouche, 16, along with Milo Gill-Taylor, Max Clapp, Robbie King and Benno Marstaller, performed superbly to become the first-ever British team to win a medal at the event.

The championships, which took place in Riva del Garda last August, saw the leading five young sailors from more than 50 countries do battle for individual and team prizes.

Labrouche said: “I’m very pleased to receive the award and it’s a reward for the team.

“For us to win a medal and get on the podium was excellent, especially as British teams haven’t traditionally done well in this event, over the years.

“Our expectations had been to get to the second day but we felt we had a chance of getting a medal.

“It shows how much sailing is a team event and securing third place was a memorable moment.

“And to cap it all, we beat the Brazilians and Robert Scheidt, who is one of the most successful sailors around, was watching, which made it even better.

“It was another step in my process of improving as a sailor.”

Labrouche is looking forward to another productive 12 months, where he is hoping to underline his position as one of the country’s most promising young sailors.

The Dabchicks Sailing Club member has a busy programme planned in 2014.

“I want to sail Lazer 4.7 and progress in to the bigger boats and my main goals is for the ISAFs,” said Labrouche, who is a pupil at Anglo European School in Ingatestone.

“The next realistic opportunity is for Japan in 2016, where the best sailors from each country compete against each other.

“I’m pleased with how last year went for me and I’m hopeful about what this year holds.

“I’ve also got the Lazer 4.7 Europeans in Norway, this summer.”

Labrouche is now predominantly based in the Bay of Cadiz in Spain, where he is currently combining his sailing with his school work.

He added: “Training is intense at the moment and it’s in difficult conditions.

“It’s hard combining the sailing with my school work but it’s helped that we’ve been using a special online school programme called ‘Show my Homework’.

“It allows the teachers to see my homework and it’s a good way of doing it.”