Pitsford Pirates’ team of young windsurfers will be hoping they can make the most of home advantage and claim the 2012 RYA Team15 Champions Cup on the familiar waters of Pitsford Reservoir this weekend (13-14 October).
But even if the Northamptonshire hotshots don’t walk away with the top prize, Pirates coaches insist the windsurfers make sure that no other team has as much fun as they do!
More than 100 young windsurfers from across the country, hailing from as far afield as Scotland and Cornwall, will descend on Northampton to battle it out in a bid to win the prestigious title of Team15 national champions 2012.
Team15 is the RYA’s youth windsurfing development programme. The Team15 Inter-Club Championships takes place regionally over the summer adding a competitive edge and race training for those keen to hone their skills.
All the teams have earned their places in the Champions Cup grand final after winning a series of highly-competitive regional Inter-Club heats that took place this summer. For many youngsters, and parents, this will be their first taste of competing at a national regatta.
This is the third consecutive year Pitsford Pirates have qualified for the Champions Cup, having completed a hat-trick of Midlands regional titles this year.
But as much as the Pirates would love to clinch the title, Jon Sweet, Pitsford’s Team15 co-ordinator, insists the Pirates young guns must enjoy the event as priority number one.
He said: “All the preparations and Pirates training sessions the sailors have been attending during the year will hopefully pay off and it will turn out to be a great fun couple of days’ sailing, with the little matter of a Championship on the side!
“Recent training has included all aspects of getting round the racecourse with ex-Pirates Team15ers, Luke Taylor and Luke Patrick, leading the coaching. Also, Chris Bowen, who is a parent and keen keelboat racer, has been covering some tactics with the sailors this week.”
The competitors, all under 16 year olds, will compete in four different windsurfing classes this weekend (3.5m, 4.5m, 5.8m, Techno 6.8) pitting their skills against each other, trying to post the best results possible for their team.
No fewer than 15 Pirates will be representing their club at the Champions Cup with Joe Patrick and his sister Vicky amongst the ones to watch, while Oliver Smith has impressed after stepping up to 4.5m class. Loveday McAllister joins her brother Robin at the final.
Some 12 newcomers have started to windsurf at Pirates this year with 30 youngsters taking to the water on a weekly basis.
2011 T15 Champions, West Kirby Warriors (North West) will be keen to defend their national title at Pitsford Reservoir, having won all four of their regional events to qualify.
Gillian Wright, RYA National Windsurfing Development Officer, said: “We’re very excited about the Team15 Champions Cup this year, it’s always a fantastic weekend with a fun yet competitive atmosphere. It’s great to see some new teams qualifying and others returning, so we can expect plenty of new and familiar faces. It will be really exciting to see which windsurfing team will be crowned the champions.”
Supported by industry leaders Tushingham/Starboard, and Neil Pryde, Team15 was set up by the RYA to help make windsurfing more accessible and appealing to youngsters at a grassroots level.
Fun and informal training sessions take place at T15 clubs all over the country for kids up to the age of 15, which are run weekly by specialist RYA coaches. Kit can be borrowed from the clubs and the cost of sessions is kept low.
To get involved with Team15 and locate your nearest local club visit www.team15.org.uk or contact the RYA 0845 345 0400Pitsford
Pirates team for the Team15 Champions Cup final: 1. Victoria Patrick 2. Amy Dunn 3. Andrew King 4. Loveday McAllister 5. Zoe Bowen 6. Lewis Bowen 7. Oliver Smith 8. Dom Meylan-Stevenson 9. David Lett 10. Lydia Howley 11. Tyla Page 12. Joe Patrick 13. Callum Smith 14. Lewis Smith 15. Robin McAllister