Tom, who triumphed in the senior 13-16 age group, qualified to represent the RYA’s Southern Region in the finals by winning the recent Area Finals at Oxford Sailing Club. With just seconds separating lap times at Oxford, the stage was set to be real nail biter at the Southampton Finals.

Each of the competitors had to skilfully manoeuvre around tricky and testing course including a slalom, stopping and reversing around a mark and a blast to the finish line. And after a day of back to back laps, showcasing the speed, skill and control of these young RIB drivers, it was time to reveal the 2017 Champions. Winning with his best time of 1:09.19.

Tom commented: “It was really exciting to have won, I can’t wait for my club’s reaction. I wasn’t sure if my lap was fast or slow so winning is a really big surprise. It is my first time in the senior age group and I can’t believe I won.” Tom won a Highfield 460 RIB with a Honda BF50 engine for his club and a Honda goody bag for himself. Medals, certificates and other prizes were also presented to the second and third places in each age group, with certificates for all competitors.

Tom narrowly missed another victory in the Champion of Clubs Head to Head which took place on the same day. He took on Kamila Czartolomna, two times Honda RYA Youth RIB Champion (2014 and 2016) and 2016 Head to Head champion, representing South Staffordshire Sailing Club, in a battle for the spectacular Champions of Clubs trophy. It was a close call as both drivers gave it everything they had in a bid to secure the trophy but in the end it was Kamila who once again claimed the Head to Head crown.

The younger division, the 8-12 age group, was also represented by a Lymington champion, Henry Wood, aged 11. Henry was the Southern Region winner at the Area Finals, earning him his place at the Southampton showdown. Hinting at a lot of promise for future Championships he took a worthy 4th at the Nationals.

Steve Morris, Head of Power Equipment for Honda (UK) commented: “It is our 16th year involved in the championship with the RYA and Highfield, and it’s great seeing the standard go up and up each year. The reason we love being involved is encouraging young people in to boating and helping to develop a hobby that can stay with them throughout their lives, and using our products safely.”

Andrew Norton, RYA Power Projects Manager added: “It never ceases to amaze me how proficient these young people are at the helm of these craft. They demonstrate real skill on what is a very testing course and each year we are delighted to see drivers either returning to have another go at claiming the championship crown or new young drivers attending the final for the first time.” “It is always exciting waiting for the winners to be announced and there is a great buzz with family and friends cheering on each of the competitors. A massive thank you and congratulations to everyone involved in making the championship a great success”, Andrew added.

Now in its 16th year, the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship, sponsored by Honda and Highfield, is a National Championship that takes place between May and September each year. Competitors aged 08 - 16 participate in Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) to demonstrate their skills at the helm with the goal of winning a Highfield 460 or a Honwave T40 for their club. The Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship is Britain’s leading programme introducing kids to powerboats and training them to be safe, proficient drivers and excellent boat handlers.

RIBs are light, manoeuvrable craft and the boats driven in the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship can hit speeds of up to 25mph For more information about the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship and how you can take part as a competitor or how your club can get involved in Club heats or Area Finals visit www.rya.org.uk/go/hondayouthrib.