Lifelong sailor and supporter of youth sailing, Phil Tilley, has been appointed Chair of Youth Selectors.

Tilley will attend this year’s RYA Youth National Championships (2-8 April) at the Welsh National Sailing Academy (WNSA), Plas Heli, in his first official role as Chair to determine the 2016 RYA UK Youth Squads as well as a host of international teams for the 2016 season.

Tilley will take over from Peter Saxton who resigned from the role in December and will join RYA Racing Manger John Derbyshire and Youth Racing Manager Mark Nicholls at the WNSA to assess sailors’ skills, attitude and performance over the five day event.

Not born into a sailing family Tilley’s first introduction was at school followed by university before starting competitive racing at Port Dinorwic Sailing Club and attending the GP14 nationals in 1989.

In more recent years, Tilley has raced an RS 400 and SB20 as well as introducing his children to sailing and racing, where they competed in the Optimist, Topper, Laser and 29er fleets. Tilley has been involved in various administrative and organisational roles while his children progressed through their various classes, including Fleet Coordinator for the Optimists and Marketing Officer for the 29er fleet.

A member of the Youth Steering Group since 2011 and other selection commitments, Tilley has seen the highs and lows of competitive sailing. This involvement over the last 30 years should stand him in good stead as he takes on the role as Chair: “My experience has given me a good understanding of the RYA and their funding partners goals and objectives, but any selection decisions have to be justified to young sailors who have invested a lot of time and effort to get as far as they have,” explained Tilley.

“I am always keen to talk to any parent who wishes to discuss both the selection process and selection decisions.” Mark Nicholls, RYA Youth Racing Manager said: “I am delighted to welcome Phil Tilley to the Youth Selection panel as Chair. It is always useful to have the perspective of a parent who has been through the system with their children. This knowledge is invaluable when making hard selection decisions.

“On behalf of the RYA I would like to thank Peter Saxton for his hard work over the years and welcome Phil, the role can be challenging and the presence of independent selectors with a range of experience really helps the process.”

The RYA Youth Nationals will welcome over 350 sailors to North Wales for the premier event on the youth racing calendar.

Racing will take place over five days, Monday 4 April – Friday 8 April, sailors will also have the chance to showcase their talents in front of a Royal audience after confirmation that HRH The Princess Royal will be attending the event on Friday 8 April.

The RYA UK Youth Squad and UK T2 Squad applications are now open and will close on midnight 8 April. You can apply to be a member of the squad here.

The British Youth Sailing Selection Policy and Procedures now online here.

The entry deadline for the 420, 29er and Laser Radial class is the 20 March, and you can enter online here.

You can follow the event build-up and see the action unfold on the new event website, British Youth Sailing Team Facebook page and on Twitter at @RYAyouthracing. Share your comments with us using #RYAYouths.