The spoils were shared this weekend at the 35th annual RYA Eric Twiname Championships - affectionately known as the ETs - where top junior sailors and windsurfers from across the UK gathered to compete for fleet honours and the prestigious Eric Twiname Shield awarded to the winning region or Home Country.
This year’s event at Rutland Sailing Club (29 April – 1 May) saw joint winners crowned with the South West and North regions sharing the overall victory and the Midlands region completing the podium in third.
The regatta brought together 275 of the most talented young sailors who currently compete in RYA recognised junior classes, with the youngest competitor aged seven and the oldest aged 16 years. The sailors competed individually, earning points based on their finishing positions in each race, and as regional or Home Country teams, rivalling for the title of regional dinghy and windsurfing champion and ultimately overall ET Champions.
With a busy schedule featuring 47 Windsurfers, 36 RS Fevas, 90 Toppers, 33 Optimists, 41 RS Teras, and 28 ILCA 4s, the event provided a great deal of entertainment both on and off the water. Despite a slow start on Saturday due to lack of wind, racing finally commenced in the afternoon when the wind picked up. The following two days had consistent 10-12 knots of wind, created ideal fun-filled sailing conditions for the juniors in all fleets.
In addition to the overall Shield winners, London and South East region prevailed to secure the windsurfing cup for best overall regional windsurfing team, while the South region took home the dinghy trophy for best overall regional dinghy team.
Innovative changes implemented in this year's races included on-water judging, new windsurfing courses tailored to have a downwind focus for future foiling progression, bibs for lead sailors, and a focus on racing rules to prepare young sailors for higher-level events like the RYA Youth National Championships.
As always, RYA coaches were freely available throughout the event to discuss individual aspirations for future development.
Additionally, the championships also gave the opportunity for over 150 of the children to have a sailing introduction to keelboating, even the parents got to join in!
“It was fantastic to be back at Rutland Sailing Club and see the hundreds of young racers back on the water at the Eric Twiname Junior Championships,” said Chris Atherton, RYA Junior Racing Manager.
“We are delighted at the positive feedback already received by parents and thrilled that the changes implemented this year have been received so successfully. This event is not only significant because of the excellent racing but also because it is a truly enjoyable occasion for all involved.”
“Congratulations to all participants, particularly the triumphant sailors and regions, and our gratitude to Rutland Sailing Club for being outstanding hosts and the volunteers who made the event possible.”
The Eric Twiname Championships celebrate the legacy of Eric Twiname and highlight the importance of junior racing in the UK. The championships attract the best young sailors and provide a platform for them to showcase their skills and compete. The event fosters a fun and supportive atmosphere where participants share knowledge and experiences, and it promotes the sport of sailing among young people and offers recognition for young sailors' achievements.
View full list of the Eric Twiname Champions results