Fourteen young Kent and Sussex sailors and coaches have been boosted in their quest to ultimately join Britain’s sailing elite thanks to a grant award from the RYA South East.   

The youngsters have received RYA SE Youth Training Fund bursaries in recognition of their achievements and potential, and to help fund their ongoing participation in events or coaching activities to develop their talent.   

Nine sailors have received Performance Bursaries, awarded to promising sailors up to the age of 14 who have demonstrated potential through their achievements in RYA junior and youth squads and events, RYA ranking events or by selection for teams representing GBR or the RYA at international level.   

Meanwhile a further five sailors will benefit from Coaching Bursaries for young sailors aged 23 or under who have shown the capability and enthusiasm to contribute to the sport in terms of support to their fellow sailors.   

The 2015-16 RYA SE Youth Training Fund recipients are: 

Performance bursaries:   

  • Fin Swanton (Felpham SC) 
  • Jack Miller (Felpham SC) 
  • Robin Stein (Crawley Mariners YC) 
  • Leon Stein (Crawley Mariners YC) 
  • Alex Head (Downs SC) 
  • Heather Denbigh (Bough Beech SC)
  • Liam Schiess (Chipstead SC) 
  • Niall Schiess (Chipstead SC)
  • Sam Williams (Buzz Active, Eastbourne)      

Coaching bursaries 

  • Josh Wilkinson (Felpham SC)
  • Abigail Bentley  (Felpham SC)
  • Nia Crockford (Whitstable YC)
  • Toby Freeland (Downs SC)
  • Elliott Marks (Bough Beech SC)

With the 2016 season getting underway next month, the bursaries provide the perfect kick-start. As Tony Rowe, RYA South East secretary, explains: "It’s fantastic for young sailors to be able to experience a range of opportunities, both in the UK and internationally, during their development as they learn so much. 

"But, like in any sport being pursued at a high level, the costs of travel, accommodation, food etc all quickly mount up. The RYA South East Youth Training Fund provides small bursaries to help all our young talent in the South East get the same opportunities to realise their ambitions and achieve success in whatever their chosen path in the sport.”   

In return for the bursaries, the sailors are expected to return to their club or other regional events to assist with ongoing coaching and training, and to pass on their experiences and enthusiasm to help inspire others to follow in their footsteps.   

For more information visit www.rya.org.uk/regions/southeast