If you were at the RYA Dinghy Show at the weekend you might have heard all about the launch of the new the British Youth Sailing Regional Junior Championships.
If you weren’t, this event replaces the RYA Zone Championships and has been redesigned to give even more young sailors and clubs the incentive and opportunity to take part in what is a regional end-of-season celebration of junior sailing.
However hard it’s tried in recent years with the introduction of regatta fleets, the RYA Zone Championships just couldn’t shake the stigma of being an ‘elite’ event for aspiring Zone squad sailors. This meant it wasn’t really achieving its aim to act as fun, low-level introduction to big events for new or inexperienced sailors at the same time as offering competitive fleet racing for our junior sailors.
That’s where the new BYS Midlands Regional Junior Championships comes in. Basically it will have much more for everybody of all abilities.
The first BYS Midlands Regional Junior Championships take place at Northampton Sailing Club on 29-30 September.
And although the exact details are being ironed out they will target
three clear groups in a sort of ‘event within an event’ format.
If you’ve ever been involved with the National Windsurfing Championships, which combines the UKWA Youth & Masters, National Junior Windsurfing Championships and the Team15 Champions Cup, you will get the idea.
So who are BYS Midlands Regional Junior Championships for?
- The event is still an indicator for those who do want to apply for Zone squads so there will be one serious racing fleet for each of the RYA recognised junior classes.
- There will be a ‘coached racing’ fleet for sailors who can sail around triangle course and want to start racing . This fleet will be run by Zones coaches or the equivalent and will be a brilliant learning experience for sailors who want to improve their racing skills.
- A Fun OnBoard fleet will be run for newer sailors. Led by local OnBoard instructors, it will be a bit of a regional end-of-season OnBoard festival filled with games, kids sailing all types of boats and heaps of OnBoard club camaraderie.
Chris Blackburn, RYA Midlands High Performance Manager, has been heavily involved in the overhaul. He said: “The BYS Midlands Regional Junior Championships are an end of the season chance to celebrate the progress of every single youngster that has enjoyed sailing across the Midlands over the season.
“They provide a focal point for new and existing sailors entering or already sailing in the pathway and are for everyone, from youngsters with no aspirations to race and just want to have fun on the water with their club mates to potential Zone sailors.”
The Championships will see individual spot prizes, rewarding attitude, teamwork, improvement and commitment, all that sort of thing, awarded over the weekend. Meanwhile, the Midlands Regional Volunteer Team has sponsored a new inter-club competition shield and they are also making the regional fleets of Toppers and Optibats available to hire at low cost so even sailors without boats can come along.
Chris added: “This is a brilliant chance to bring all our clubs together to round off the season and we’re looking forward to finalising and announcing the format soon.”
When that’s all agreed you can be sure to hear of it here first :)