Two Jersey sailors will become the first youth team from the island to race in a world championship event this week.

Skipper Elsa Swetenham, 18, and her crew Owen Harper, 20, are competing in the Hobie 16 World Championships in Florida.

Representing the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club, they will come up against the best Hobie teams from around the world across three days of racing.

All the competitors are provided with identical, newly-built boats to put the emphasis on the skills of the sailors, rather than their equipment.

Owen Harper and Elsa Swetenham have competed in national and European championships this year. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Swetenham and Harper finished sixth at the Hobie 16 nationals in Poole earlier this year and went on to race at the European Championships in La Rochelle.

Locally, they took top spot in the youth section of the Savills CI Hobie Championships, placing second overall in the open event.

The youth racing at the Hobie Worlds, which are being held in Captiva Island in Florida, begins on Wednesday with as many as 56 teams set to be on the startline.

The inaugural Hobie 16 World Championships were held in Hawaii in 1976, five years after the fibreglass catamaran was first manufactured.

The yacht club has been super supportive, so they've managed to get us to the nationals, to the Europeans, and they said 'look, you're our upcoming youth team, you're ready'. Gordon Burgis has really helped us and he's said if you want to do it, just do it. So we've managed to raise the funds, we've managed to get there. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it's the last time we're going to be able to compete in the youth together so we thought we've just got to do it. We definitely want to be in the top half, we're in a small class so it would be amazing if we could get a podium position, but we've never actually raced against any of these people before so we don't really know, but top half is what we're aiming for.

Elsa Swetenham, Hobie 16 skipper