Over 20 young windsurfers gathered at Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club (BCYC) at Axbridge Reservoir over the weekend of 10 – 11 June 2023, for the South and South West Windsurfing British Youth Sailing Regional Junior Championships.
The two-day event is designed for junior windsurfers aged 16 and under - of all skill levels - to come together for an action-packed and fun weekend on the water.
On Saturday, the windsurfers received first-rate training from an expert coaching team led by National Class Coach and South West Coach Emma Labourne, along with South lead coach Rachel Horton, plus Jenny Roberts, a member of the British Sailing Squad. With predominantly light winds, the sailors concentrated on board handling, slow speed starting manoeuvres and pumping.
Sunday brought more wind, and a full day of racing. The 4.5m regatta fleet had an action-packed morning with 11 “Master Blaster races”. These races are designed so that the youngsters learn lots whilst having bags of fun.
The Championship fleet completed four races in a gradually building wind. After lunch, the Regatta fleet sailors joined the Championship fleet and they then completed three races on a windward-leeward course. Rachel, who was supporting the Regatta fleet, commented “how well the sailors progressed over the day and it was great to see them out joining in with the older sailors in the afternoon”.
The host club BCYC as always was very welcoming, providing a BBQ on Saturday night with many of the sailors and parents camping on site. A big thank you to the Race Officer John Allen who volunteered to run the windsurf racing and all the parent helpers. The club was also very busy hosting the Somerset and Dorset Sea Cadets District regatta and it was great to be able to invite their windsurfers to join in with our racing on Sunday.
RYA South and South West Regional Performance Manger, Duncan West, said: “It was a wonderful weekend of windsurfing and seeing all the sailors getting out on the water enjoying themselves and working hard. For many this was their first racing event with sailors from other clubs and it was great to see them all socializing in the evening.
“A very big thank you to BCYC for all the hard work and making all the windsurfers and parents feel so welcome over the weekend”.
Full results here.
The event took place simultaneously with other regional events for windsurfers being hosted at other sailing clubs across the country.
This is the first of two championship weekends of sailing and windsurfing action for youngsters in the regions. The second event - specifically for dinghy sailors - will take place over the weekend of 17 – 18 June at Oxford Sailing Club. Among those taking are some of the South most promising young racers, as well as a host of children getting their first taste of sailing at a different venue to their home club.
Duncan concludes: “The Regional Junior Championships are a fantastic inclusive festival of sailing and windsurfing for under 16s regardless of ability whilst also still catering for the older, more serious racers wishing to develop their skills too.
“Next it’s the turn of the dinghy sailors for their event at Oxford Sailing Club. With over 100 sailors it will be another busy weekend of juniors taking to the water.”