British Keelboat Academy get set for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup 2012
The BKA form part of RYA Team GBR Black in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup 2012
A year of hard work will bear fruit for a team of young sailors from the British Keelboat Academy (BKA) as they take part in the prestigious Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup 2012, starting this weekend in Cowes which will pit the young crew against international teams from around the world.
The team came together last autumn and have been working tirelessly since to get the boat and themselves ready for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup. As a new team, the sailors worked very hard initially on establishing a good team spirit, something which has served them well through a long campaign. Over the winter, a lot of time was spent preparing the boat and equipment, which included some cold, dark weekends on the boat led by boat captain Alex Gardner. The sailors also worked hard on their own personal preparations including fitness sessions, developing their own skills and knowledge to meet the challenge of competing in an event of this level.
The Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup is an international team yachting competition, run by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC). Teams are made up of three boats representing a country, and up to four teams per nation are allowed to enter. The event runs from Saturday 21st – Saturday 28th July 2012.
As well as teams from Great Britain, there are entries from Hong Kong, France and combined Belgium/Netherlands team. The BKA crew will be sailing on the J109 Yeoman of Wight, kindly loaned by owner David Aisher who will also be sailing on board, as part of Team GBR Black alongside Salvo and Cobra.
Alex Gardner explains his role with the campaign: “My main responsibility has been to make sure that the boat and equipment is in the best shape possible. This involved everything from polishing and sanding the hull in the depths of winter to refining some of the systems to make them more efficient. From a personal perspective, I have spent long hours in the gym improving my fitness to ensure that I can operate at optimal performance in what will be an intense week of sailing. It has been a long campaign and am really looking forward to making it all worthwhile next week!”
As well as looking for a competitive performance at this year’s event, a key focus of this campaign has been to give the young British Keelboat Academy sailors the experience of what is required to campaign a boat at this level, which will be invaluable for them to be part of top level British yacht racing campaigns in future.
Lizzy Foreman, navigator and spinnaker trimmer, explains how the campaign fits into her own sailing plans: “The experience I have gained over the season in the lead up to this event has been very valuable. It soon became clear that good communication, team ethos, early preparation and planning were going to be essential to the success of the campaign.
“Through taking a managerial role I have learnt how to see ‘the big picture’ in the lead up to the event, tackling the season in stages, each with clear aims and objectives. I have also gained experience in writing media reports and sponsorship proposals, which all together provides a great platform to help my progression into the Artemis Offshore Academy, where although the focus is solo offshore sailing, good team working skills remain a key element in running a professional campaign.”
RYA Team GBR Manager, Nigel King, commented: “GBR Black is a development team made up of a lot of young sailors, with the J109 Yeoman of Wight being made up of sailors from the joint keelboat racing initiative between the RYA and UKSA. If the BKA sailors can develop and learn as the event goes on, I think they will have some really good days during the event. With the Commodores’ Cup being a mix of inshore and offshore racing, there is certainly going to be a lot for the team to learn from.”
For further information on the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup 2012 visit the event website or follow the event on Facebook.
Aspiring young sailors who wish to further their skills, experience and knowledge of keelboat racing can now apply online for the British Keelboat Academy squad selections. Online applications for 2013 BKA squads are now being accepted with selection trials scheduled for 22/23 and 29/30 September at UKSA. Applications close at 12pm on Friday 31st August. To apply, please visit www.britishkeelboatacademy.org and click on ‘Squad applications’.
For more information about the British Keelboat Academy and how you can help with fundraising, please visit the BKA website at www.britishkeelboatacademy.org, or follow the BKA on Facebook or on Twitter (@tweetbka)