British Youth Sailing is delighted to announce that the much-loved Eric Twiname Junior Championships will still be going ahead this year – but as a virtual regatta.
The regatta, which usually takes place at Rutland Sailing Club, was cancelled when the RYA announced its suspension of all organised activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However British Youth Sailing has teamed up with leading eSailing provider Virtual Regatta and the Eric Twiname Trust to ensure that young sailors can still get their racing fix despite not being able to hit the water.
While it is not a replacement for the event proper, the eETs will give junior sailors the chance to sharpen their racing skills while on lockdown.
The move to eSailing follows the success of the inaugural eSailing Youth National Championships earlier this month which saw 16-year-old 420 sailor Terry Hacker take the top spot.
The eETs will take place over the same dates – May 8-10 – on the virtual waters of Portsmouth Harbour and will be open to youngsters eligible to compete at the original regatta apart from the Laser 4.7 and RS Tera Sport classes which will be open entry.
Racing will be done in virtual J70s, with each of the classes racing in flights to determine a winner.
The virtual regatta will then conclude with a showdown race featuring the best two eSailors from each class.
Chris Atherton, the RYA’s National Performance Manager, said: “We were all hugely saddened when the tough decision was made to cancel the 2020 Eric Twiname Junior Championships.
“It is an iconic event for young racers and one that everyone from sailors to staff, parents to volunteers look forward to greatly each year.
“However we are delighted to be able to launch the first ever eSailing Eric Twiname Junior Championships, which we hope will unite our community of young racing sailors during these challenging times and provide a fun, safe environment to improve their sailing skills.”
Bruce Aitken, secretary of the Eric Twiname Trust, added: “The Trust wholeheartedly supports this announcement by the RYA of the 2020 event becoming a virtual regatta. The trustees would like to express their thanks to the RYA for organising this virtual event and hope that all competitors will gain much enjoyment from this novel form of the sport.”
A rite of passage for young racing sailors, the Eric Twiname Championships was named in honour of sailor, author and journalist Eric Twiname.
Twiname made his name in sailing winning numerous national titles in a range of dinghy classes, as well as in team racing where he captained the British Universities Sailing Association.
He was also greatly influential in shaping the Racing Rules which govern racing in the UK, sitting on the RYA’s Racing Rules Committee and working as the Racing Rules Advisor to the British Olympic Association.