Hannah Mills was one of the newbies on the Olympic sailing team in 2012, but this year, at the age of 28 with a silver medal under her belt (see Olympic Sailing concludes with a rush for silver) she will be one of the more experienced members of the team. Sailing with Saskia Clark, the pair recently picked up a gold medal at the Olympic Classes Regatta in Hyeres, so they are looking in strong shape.


Photo Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark 470.Richard Langdon/Team GB.

Hannah Mills (right) and Saskia Clark sailing the 470 in Hyeres. Photo Richard Langdon/Team GB.


Where Hannah's sailing started

Hannah's first taste of sailing was in a Mirror dinghy on a family holiday. She made her name at the age of 15 in the mixed Optimist class, a popular beginner boat for many Olympians (former sailors include Sir Ben Ainslie) where girls and boys compete on equal terms. Despite coming from a non-sailing family, Hannah, from Wales, quickly rose through the ranks of Optimist sailing in the UK and proved herself to be among the very best in the world. In 2002 she became the first girl to win the UK Optimist nationals, then, as well as winning the girl’s title at the 2003 Optimist worlds she posted what was at that point the UK’s best result in the event. From there she moved to the 420 where she found more success, winning the worlds in 2006.

Hannah paired up with Saskia Clark in the Olympic 470 class just before the 2011 Princess Sofia regatta in Palma, and the duo went on to win a silver medal in Hyeres a month later. They followed this with silvers at the Sail for Gold Regatta and Pre-Olympic test event – it was enough to convince the selectors and their berth to the 2012 London Olympic Games was confirmed. They won silver at the worlds in Perth and in Miami, and at the beginning of 2012 they were ranked second in the world. In Weymouth they took home a silver medal, which was a little disappointing at the time as they entered the medal race with the hope of taking gold.


Hannah Mills. Photo Richard Langdon/Skandia Team GBR.

Hannah Mills. Photo Richard Langdon/Skandia Team GBR.


Hannah Mills at a glance:

World ranking: 6
Age: 28
Born: 29/02/88, Cardiff
Started sailing: On a Mirror dinghy during a family holiday in Cornwall
Previous Olympics: 2012 (Silver medal)
Career highs: Optimist worlds 2003, 420 worlds 2006, Olympic silver medal (470 class) 2012.
Biggest influence on career: Alan Williams and Joe Glanfield
Other interests: Windsurfing, mountain biking
Fascinating fact: Hannah was born on February 29th, meaning she only has a 'proper' birthday every four years - rather appropriately coinciding with Olympic years. This year she celebrated her seventh birthday.





See our guide to Olympic Sailing and our full British sailing medal predictions for the 2016 Rio Olympics.


Written by: Gael Pawson
Gael Pawson is the editor of Yachts & Yachting Magazine and the founder of Creating Waves. A keen racer, she has sailed all her life, and started writing about the subject whilst studying journalism at university. Dinghies and small keelboats are her first loves, but she has cruised and raced a huge variety of boats in locations across the world.