Even Rookies Should Give It a Go!
key highlight of the junior sailing season is the RYA Zone Championships, which will see hundreds of young sailors taking part at venues across the country, including at Draycote Water Sailing Club for the Midlands region event. Many will be competing for
selection to RYA Midlands Zone Squads, which provide coaching to
promising up and coming junior sailors, while for less experienced young sailors the championships offer a great introduction to racing away from their home club.
RYA Midlands Zone Championships at Draycote Water over the weekend of September 24-25 will host Optimist, Topper and windsurfing 4.5, 5.8, 6.8 and 7.8 fleets – and also regatta fleet racing for Optimist, Topper and RS Tera sailors.
The regatta fleet is for less experienced OnBoard or club sailors and is simply about a coach-led fun introduction to
racing; it isn't competitive but does have national race officers setting
appropriate courses and coaches providing advice on the water and a great learning opportunity. ‘It's
good for even inexperienced sailors to step out of their clubs and learn to
start racing in an environment they might not get elsewhere,’ says Chris Blackburn, RYA High Performance Manager for the North and
For all the details about this year’s Midland Zone Championships and to
enter visit the RYA’s online racing events pages
Remember it doesn’t have to be
daunting, no matter what your level of experience as a sailor – or as a parent.
If your child is sailing but you are not familiar with the sport yourself, simply
ask for advice at your local sailing or OnBoard club. Sailors are enthusiasts –
and only too willing to help! In any boat park there will be people willing to provide support with packing away a boat or securing it for car-topping or trailing. You could get together as a club to enter so you can all help each other out. Having a local Midlands Zone
Championships may even mean you don’t need an overnight stay, but can travel for
each day. Lots of top tips on how to participate can be found in our Zoning in on Learning to Race feature.
You could ask to borrow a boat or windsurfing board if you don't have one of your own. Or you could rent one of the regional fleet Toppers for the weekend for £20 per boat, and the boat will be delivered to Draycote Water SC for you; the boats are not race rigged and so are only suitable for the rookie fleet. To book one for the event email the RYA here.
you don’t have a boat or board you could also apply to be awarded one for two years!
Through the RYA's
partnership with the John Merricks Sailing Trust, eligible sailors
attending Zone Championships can apply to receive a new boat for their
club/centre and have exclusive use of it themselves for two years, after
which the boat/board returns to the club/centre. These boats are gifted to
youngsters who display enthusiasm, drive, talent and commitment and who may not
ordinarily have the opportunity or financial backing to achieve their
goals. Find out if your sailor could be considered for a JMST boat this year.
Topper Makes a Difference to David
David Peaty from Bromsgrove was chosen to
win a JMST Topper from more than 70 applicants after attending the Zone
Championships at Blithfield SC in 2014. The South Bromsgrove High School student,
who is 14 this August, sails at Upton Warren SC, and with Worcestershire
Schools Sailing and Canoeing Association; at last year’s Zone Championships at
Rutland he finished 10th having moved up from regatta to main fleet.
We asked David to tell us about his sailing since the award of his JMST Topper:
“I have come a really long way since
being awarded the JMST Topper. I have trained nearly every week at my club,
gone to International Topper Class Association winter training, gone to loads
of competitions and regattas nearly every weekend and have been selected for
the Midlands Zone Squad within less than a year of having my own boat. My
parents have taken me all over the country and I have been able to sail
alongside some of the best Topper sailors. My coaches have been great and have
really encouraged me.”
the JMST boat been a key factor in your sailing? “Having my own boat has made a huge
difference. I have been able to sail single-handed at
my local club, in regional travellers and the national series, and attend zone
squad and open training. Without my boat I would not have been able to
have sailed or learned to race as I used to have to share a Feva at my local
club. It has also meant that I have had a boat which has a full racing
rig which has helped me loads.”
do you enjoy most about your sailing? “I enjoy everything about my sailing. I love
the feeling of being out on the water in my boat and it all coming together. I
also like that sailing is all about tactics as well as your technique and
fitness. I have made some great friends on and off the water.”
are your sailing goals? “I
will continue with all the RYA and ITCA events in the Autumn. My goals are to
move up from the Midlands Topper Zone Squad. I want to improve my
consistency and technique so I can be the best sailor that I can be and get as
far as I can. I know it is really competitive but I am going to train as
hard as I can and try my best.”
tips for young sailors about the Zone Championships? “It is one of the best things you can
do. It was a bit scary going for the first time, but everyone is really
friendly and helpful. It will really help to improve your sailing and set
you up for going on to other regional and national events. My top tip is
to try it and have fun. Be yourself and sail your own race - if it doesn't
go well, pick yourself and try again.’
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