Northern Irish sailors celebrate success following selection for Griffin Project

Emma McKnight and Daniel Corbett secure selection onto RORC’s Griffin Project
08 Apr 24
emma and dan new

Emma McKnight from Strangford Lough Yacht Club and Daniel Corbett form County Antrim Yacht Club recently celebrated success following their selection to be part of The Griffin Project 2024.

The Griffin Project is a Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) scheme which gives young sailors the opportunity to try offshore sailing, learn best practises for yachting and improve their overall crewmanship.

As part of the project, Emma (25) and Daniel (18) will receive coaching from world class sailors such as Dee Caffari, Shirley Robertson, Steve Hayles and Ian Walker.

They will also be given opportunities to put what they have learnt into practice in races such as Cowes to St Malo. This will inevitably contribute hugely to their development as sailors in challenging and at times unfamiliar environments.

Selection for the Griffin Project

Selection to be part of The Griffin Project was hugely competitive. Over 300 sailors from around the world applied to be part of the scheme but only 20 were ultimately successful. 

Both sailors have a wealth of experience which they were able to call upon at the selection weekends in March held at Cowes.

The pair grew up racing dinghies and progressed through RYA Northern Ireland’s pathway system but since then they have both gained offshore experience racing and cruising yachts.

In 2022, Emma sailed from Gran Canaria to French Polynesia. She said this, “opened her eyes to the world of offshore sailing.”

Meanwhile, Daniel gained experience on a Corby 29, competing in inshore races and offshore deliveries.  

Post selection thoughts from Dan and Emma

Unsurprisingly, Dan and Emma are looking forward to the year with huge anticipation.

Dan said: “The Griffin Project allows us to have a sailor run program- something that is unthinkable on most yachts due to the presence of an owner. This allows us to make our own choices about the races, make our own mistakes and learn on the job.

“The type of sailing will also differ slightly from what I’m used to. Despite there being five crew on each team, the racing will be quite short handed with only a few on deck at a time. This will make me a more rounded sailor.”

Emma added: “A big part of The Griffin Project is the sailor led campaign, so we are given a huge amount of responsibility which I think is extremely exciting.”

To learn more about the selection weekend for The Griffin Project, click here.