The talents of the UK’s most promising young sailors, windsurfers and powerboaters were celebrated on 6 March 2016 as the winners of the RYA Regional Youth Champion Awards were revealed at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show.   

The awards were presented at London’s magnificent Alexandra Palace by British Sailing Team’s Giles Scott, three times Finn World Champion, in recognition of the outstanding achievement and performance of young people across the range of activities the RYA represents.   

Ben Jelf of Stewartby Powerboat and Hydroplane Club was presented as the Eastern Region Champion, one of 11 regional winners from across the UK.   

Ben was selected as a winner by the RYA eastern regional committee. Since 2011 he has held numerous speed records and won a whole string of championships at national and international levels. 

In nominating Ben his club said of him: “2015 saw Ben secure his 10th and 11th British Powerboat Racing Championships in just five years of racing. Throughout the Powerboat GP British GT30 campaign and the Powerboat GP British GT30 Sprint Campaign Ben remained dominant and finished the season taking a Grand Prix win at every event. He also made a huge step up to campaign in the F4 Catamaran class where he competed as the youngest racer in the fleet.   

“In addition to his achievements on the water Ben has also helped mentor the two younger members of the Jelf racing team and other youngsters in the sport. He has provided advice and encouragement as well as assisting pit crewing for them and for his dad during races. 

“At the Nottingham International event whilst many of the younger competitors were having fun Ben rallied two other youngsters into helping him put up banners, signs and flags for the organisers, helping the event to be a success.   

“Ben is a credit to his family, team, club and sport and despite not having the desired outcome at the international event this year he took defeat like a true champion, proudly congratulating those who beat him and encouraging his team mates and the other British competitors in their challenges for international glory.”   

Ben said of the award: “To see the calibre amongst the other RYA Youth Champions and their achievements for the year and to have shared a stage with some of our Olympic hopefuls was a tremendous honour for me.  Securing my 10th & 11th British Championship was a hard challenge as the standard of competition in the sport is increasing amongst the younger generation and we’re all pushing each other every step of the way. Because we’re a relatively small sport compared to sailing and windsurfing it always means so much more to you when you receive an accolade like this.”   

RYA Sport Development Manager Duncan Truswell commented: “At the RYA we believe it’s really important to recognise people on every level and these youngsters are all so passionate about their sport and they all put in the extra effort.  Of course, all this wouldn’t be possible without the support of their parents, guardians, coaches, trainers, club officials and friends. Our congratulations go to all the worthy Regional Youth Champion winners – some of them are undoubtedly the rising stars of the future and I’m sure many may indeed follow in the footsteps of our successful Olympians, world champions and record breakers.”   

For more information on the RYA Regional Youth Champion Awards visit youthchampion    

For more about Stewartby Powerboat and Hydroplane Club visit www.stewartbypowerboat.com