Northern Ireland’s junior sailors experience new types of racing at Eric Twiname Championships

New courses and tight racing experience allows RYA Northern Ireland’s junior sailors to gain valuable experience at the Eric Twiname Championships.
14 May 24
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Nine of Northern Irelands junior sailors travelled to Rutland Sailing Club on the 4th and 5th of April to compete in the Eric Twiname Championships.

The Eric Twiname Championships, organised by the RYA in conjunction with the Eric Twiname Trust, is named in memory of the legendary sailor, author, and journalist, Eric Twiname. The event gives junior sailors more racing experience, helping their overall development.

Over the years, thousands have taken part, including legendary sailors such as Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy being among the early winners of the event.

The iconic history behind the Eric Twiname Championship means that many sailors see the competition as a “rite of passage” and this year saw further development of the event. New formats of racing such as ten minute races with varied course shapes were introduced, providing a new challenge to sailors.

While some of the more “traditional” racing continued across the weekend, RYA Northern Ireland Performance Manager Andrew Baker explained: “The purpose of these new style races is to make sailing more appealing to competitors and spectators alike.

“Shorter races guarantee more boat-on-boat interaction and a need for the sailors to think quickly- therefore improving their abilities.

“Mainstream sailing is moving towards shorter, more intense racing including future potential Olympic race formats. Events such as Sail GP Match Racing / Team racing series have already been running shorter races for a number of seasons.” 

The Eric Twinames is open to sailors in Optimists, RS Teras, RS Fevas, Toppers, as well as four different rig sizes of Techno windsurfer.

The Northern Irish squad consisted of sailors from the Feva, ILCA and Topper classes:


Annabel & Emily Ridout BYC 

Sally Nixon & Jessica Dadley-Young BYC 


Hugo Boyd BYC

Isabel Nixon BYC 

Emily Mcafee BYC


Sophie Cairns BYC

Polly Robinson BYC

Across the weekend, there were some great performances from the team, highlighting great potential among this group of Northern Irish junior sailors.

Full results can be found here.

With a busy season ahead, there is no doubt that this experience will be invaluable to all involved.