RYA Cymru Wales blog – January 2024

Catch up with the latest youth and junior news this winter with Performance Manager Sarah McGovern…
16 Jan 24

Two 29ers training with RYA Cymru Wales squad on the sea on a winter's day.

I was out in Valencia in Spain between Christmas and New Year with two of our RYA Cymru Wales Performance Academy sailors for an international training camp.

The warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours meant we were still out on the water at 5.30pm, and at this time of year it was an invaluable way to really clock up some quality hours.

Freddie MacLaverty and Honor Procter were among a Celtic group from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland who joined top youth ILCA sailors from across Europe for the six-day camp hosted by SailCoach. Alongside lots of learning and skills development, there was also a two-day regatta which saw them finishing 5th and 6th in a really high standard 25-boat fleet.

All in all it proved to be a really worthwhile and cost-efficient week, so now we’ve scoped it out we’ll hopefully be able to replicate and maybe expand this idea for our academy youth sailors next winter.

Welsh squads

We’re half way through our RYA Cymru Wales winter squads with lots of good training going on for our dedicated 420, 29er, ILCA, Optimist, RS Tera and Topper sailors, who’ve been working hard and with great resilience through the coldest months of the year.

The squads continue over January, February and March, then open training begins again from April. Booking is already open for some of these dates, which can be found on our open training hub.

As we head into the new season we’ll be looking forward to seeing everyone in action at local events such as the Dragon Series as well as on class circuits and at big championships home and abroad!

Group of Welsh squad sailors gathered around a Topper dinghy on shore with their coach for a technical talk.

Celtic Cup

One event that we’re really looking forward to in the near future is the Celtic Cup, previously known as the Nations Cup and then Tri Nations Cup.  As its current title suggests, this event is for teams from the RYA Home Countries of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Each of the Home Countries selects their best six ILCA and six Topper sailors for their team and it’s the turn of Wales to host this year’s event over the weekend of 3-4 February 2024 at Plas Menai.

It includes class-specific coaching as well as racing, making it a fantastic winter event for not only getting on the water, but also for the sailors to get to know each other, so when they go away to international events later in the year they will already have friends from other countries!

Group of five Welsh squad ILCA sailors on the water training on a winter's day.

British Youth Sailing

Further ahead in the calendar, our sailors will be gearing up for the 2024 RYA Youth Nationals at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, 30 March-5 April, and the RYA Regional Junior Championships for Wales at Dale, 22-23 June 2024.

Look out for entries opening soon for these major events and in the meantime please do save the dates and share them with the youth and junior sailors and parents at your club or centre.

And finally…

In the meantime, our aspiring young racing sailors may want to get down to the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show at Farnborough International, 24 and 25 February: RYA members and children aged 15 and under go free!

As ever the show will be packed with technical talks which are ideal for picking up inspiration, ideas and knowledge, and with exhibitors from across the industry it’s also a great opportunity to check out the latest kit and maybe pick up a bargain or two.

For all the latest news and announcements about training and events, remember you can keep up to date by following @RYACymruWales on Facebook and Instagram.

Wishing you all a fantastic start to the new season!


An Optimist sailor practising hiking in a boat on shore as part of Welsh squad winter training.