Over 374 sailors from across the UK are set to compete at the prestigious 2015 RYA Youth National Championships, which will take place at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic venue, the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, from 4-10 April.
The RYA Youth Nationals is the premier event in the youth sailing calendar with sailors of all ages competing across the classes. Alongside the opportunity to be crowned Youth National Champion, the event also doubles up as a selection indicator for sailors hoping to represent GBR on the international stage.
Places on the EUROSAF Youth Europeans team are available to the highest performers in each class, as well as an important invitation to the British Youth Sailing Team Selection Event for the 2015 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, to be held in August at Hayling Island Sailing Club.
For younger sailors, or those progressing through the RYA Pathway, the Youth Nationals may provide an opportunity for selection to the RYA UK Youth Squad.
The waters of Weymouth and Portland will host racers from across the six youth sailing classes, boys in Laser Standards, girls and boys in Laser Radials and Neil Pryde RS:X 8.5 windsurfers, and for all-boy, all-girl or mixed crews in 420s, 29ers and Spitfire multihulls.
Four previous winners will be returning to defend their titles. Among those classes expected to be closely contested, is the Spitfire with a record breaking 12 entries. Last year’s Spitfire champion and Weymouth local Sam Barker will be returning to defend his title, with new crew Victoria Akhurst.
Many of the competitors have been testing their form in recent domestic competition. Results of the UK Laser qualifiers would suggest that previous Youth National champion Jamie Calder is on track for a title defence. Calder finished first youth at both of the Laser Radial competitions in March and will now be turning his focus to the Youth Nationals: “The qualifiers have been a great start to the season but I can’t wait to get racing at the Youth Championships. It is the biggest youth event of the year in the UK.”
RYA Youth Racing Manager, Mark Nicholls, said: “Weymouth and Portland will once again provide an excellent venue for the RYA Youth Nationals and we are looking forward to another successful event.”
“The Youth Nationals is the highlight of the domestic youth racing calendar, and it’s great to see such a strong entry list from every level of the Pathway. Some sailors will be aiming to take gold and hoping to secure squad selection, while others will be taking their first step into a youth boat.”
Event registration and equipment inspection opens on Saturday 4 April and racing starts for all classes on Monday 6 April through to Friday 10 April at WPNSA.
You can follow the event build up and see the action unfold on the British Youth Sailing Team Facebook page and on Twitter at @RYAyouthracing. Share your preparations and comments with us using #RYAYouths.
Article Author Imogen Stanley 26/3/2015 16:52
Photo © Paul Wyeth/RYA