Young sailors bid to follow in Ali's Olympic footsteps
Could the next Ali Young be at the 2012 WSSCA Sail for Gold Regatta?
More than 60 young sailors are set to follow in the footsteps of Worcestershire’s newest Olympian, Alison Young, by competing at the Worcestershire Schools’ Sailing and Canoeing Association (WSSCA) 2012 Sail for Gold Regatta at Upton Warren on 23-24 June.
Pupils aged from nine to 18 from 12 schools across the county will descend on Upton Warren Outdoor Education Centre for two days of serious races and other fun on-the-water activities depending on each young sailor’s level of experience.
WSSCA is affiliated to, and shares the aims and aspirations of, the National School Sailing Association (NSSA), in introducing and developing young people in dinghy sailing.
Trimpley Sailing Club’s Ali, who last month was named as part of TeamGB in the Laser Radial one-person dinghy class, is just one of thousands of youngsters who have developed and honed their sailing and racing skills with the WSSCA at Upton Warren. The 25-year-old was a familiar face at the annual WSSCA regattas from 2000 to 2005, and represented Worcestershire at NSSA events, while she was growing up in Bewdley.
In what is a timely nod to Ali’s achievement of Olympic selection, this year’s WSSCA regatta is being staged under the banner of Sail for Gold, as part of the nationwide London 2012 initiative from sailing’s national governing body, the RYA, celebrating Britain's unmatched Olympic sailing heritage and inspiring more people to get out on the water more often.
All of the school groups set to compete at this year’s regatta have been attending after-school beginner and improver sessions at Upton Warren, which run on all weekday evenings from April to October.
Vivien Brookes, Chair of the WSSCA, said: “Being just a month before the start of the Olympics, and with Ali’s amazing selection, this Sail for Gold regatta is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the latest young sailing talent we have in Worcestershire while showing our support for Ali and the rest of the British team sailors competing at London 2012.
“Some of the youngsters have only been sailing since Easter while others will be in their second or third season of sailing, so the weekend will be a mixture of serious and fun racing to make sure that regardless of age, experience or ability everyone has a great time. We are so proud of Ali and can’t wait to see her racing at London 2012. Who knows, the next Ali Young could be getting their first taste of competition at this year’s WSSCA regatta.”
As well as sailing in a range of different dinghies boats at the regatta, the young people will take part in kayaking races too.
The Sail for Gold Regatta also provides a warm-up for the WSSCA team sailors who will be heading off to the Olympic sailing venue at Weymouth and Portland for the highly-prestigious National Schools’ Sailing Association Golden Jubilee Regatta from 8-15 July.
This annual event, which this year marks its 50th anniversary, sees the top youth racing teams from across the UK go head-to-head over the course of a week. The WSSCA team is made up of 21 sailors, ranging in age from 12 to 18 from seven different schools in Malvern, Droitwich, Bromsgrove, Evesham and Worcester. The youngsters will be hoping to enjoy a repeat of the success they had earlier this month when they won the overall Best Team Trophy at the NSSA Inland Championship Regatta at Datchet Water in Berkshire.
For more information about Worcestershire Schools’ Sailing and Canoeing Association visit http://wssca.wordpress.com or contact Vivien Brookes on 01684 569253.