Mark Campbell-James, a 19-year-old from Seaford, is a world sailing champion.

Mark won the World Youth Match Racing Championship title in Auckland, New Zealand, with crew David Carr and James Ward. Helmsman Mark, who predicted his success, said: "I did feel reasonably confident but it wasn't easy. It feels great to say I'm a world champion. We only lost one of 15 races and that makes me even more convinced that I should try for the Olympics."

Campbell-James, an engineering student, added: "Now I've got some work to catch up on." But their victory upset chief rivals Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

With 16 crews split into two for the opening round in Auckland, Mark and Co won all seven of their races which had to be extended over two days because of light wind conditions.

The organisers then warned crews that the winner might be decided after the second round of races because of delays caused by the weather that would have meant abandoning the semi-finals and finals. At this stage, Campbell-James's crew were second on countback but organisers then decided there was enough time for a best-of-three-race final.

Campbell-James saw off the Sydney challenge 2-0, helped by a premature start from their opponents in the first race and a penalty for the Australians in the second. Campbell-James said: "The Aussies put in protests after the second round and were so hacked off after thinking they'd won they were psyched out in the final.

"We managed to put them over the line at the gun on the first race and forced them to give away a penalty as we waited to start the second. It meant they had to do a 360 degree turn as a forfeit and we led off the line too."

His father David, a former Olympian and now a selector, believes his son has got the potential to follow in his footsteps. He said: "I'm overjoyed. It's the biggest thing he has ever won. It's a great boost for him, for us and for British youth yachting because this country has been off the pace since winning it in 1994 and 1995. It's the biggest success since the sport got lottery funding for its youth development.

"I've spoken to their coach Bill Edgerton and he's very pleased with how Mark and his crew performed and that is praise because Bill is an Olympic coach. There's a long way to go to the Olympics for Mark. There's massive competition and he's only 19. But we could be looking at 2004 or 2008 in the soling class. Match racing is very similar to soling.

"He has the potential. Mark is the coolest guy, unflappable, intelligent and sharp which helps him interpret rules and tactics very quickly."

David was sixth in the Tornado class at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. He said: "I was disappointed to only finish sixth so maybe Mark can improve on that."

Rynzys racing manager Harold Bennett was impressed said: "The standard of sailing was very high." Meanwhile, Mark's 16-year-old brother Paul, who was Young Sailor of the Year three years ago, launched a new 420 dinghy at Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire in preparation for the British Championships in April.

His main targets this year are the World 420 Youth Championships in Sydney at Christmas, the European Juniors and to be British No.1. David said: "Paul's got new sponsors and and a new crew as well and the first outing went well. They won four out of six training races on the first day and scored three thirds on the second. They showed consistency which was impressive."

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