London and South East bursary award for young Islington sailor

09 Mar 20

The LSEYTF is a charity associated with the RYA to support youth development, and the bursaries provides modest financial assistance to support a sailor’s ongoing efforts to fulfil their recognised potential. They are available to promising sailors up to the age of 14 who have demonstrated potential in events such as National School Sailing Association national championships, RYA ranking events or by selection for teams representing Great Britain at international level.

James Crossley (14), a member of Island Barn Reservoir and Datchet Water Sailing Clubs, has been sailing since he was seven, and racing above club level for the last two years. His achievements have included:

  • Member of the RYA London and South East Topper dinghy Zone Squad in 2017/18 and 2018/19.
  • Currently member of the 2019/20 RYA National Topper Squad Tier 1 (top 8 ranked boys).
  • Topper 4.2 National Champion in 2018.
  • Datchet Water Sailing Club Junior Champion in 2017 and 2018 and Sailor of the Year in 2018.
  • Winner of the 2019 London Youth Games, Topper 5.3 Male Class.
  • Winner of the 2019 London & South East Topper Traveller Series.
  • 1st Junior and 1st Topper in the 2019/20 Selden Sailjuice Winter Series, the UK’s biggest dinghy racing series with over 1,000 sailors from 94 different boat classes representing over 350 clubs.

In supporting James’ application for the bursary Charlotte Bonella, the RYA Zone Squad Head Coach, said: “James has had a great year which resulted in him qualifying into the top training group of the national junior squad, making him number one of the top eight ranked boys from the season. He'll now progress to the next level in the coaching and will do much more travelling with weekends all over the country.”

Photo - James leads the fleet. Photos credit Mark Crossley

In return for the bursary sailors are expected to pass on their experiences and enthusiasm to help inspire others to follow in their footsteps, and James has actively promoted sailing and the Topper dinghy class through social media. He regularly helps at sailing club open days, RYA OnBoard days and training events, and has introduced new sailors to the RYA training squads and the International Topper Class Association regional and national competitions. He also gives talks on sailing to schools and clubs.

James said of his award: “We are one of the top sailing nations in the World and the support provided by the RYA to sailors of all abilities is amazing. This award will help me continue to train and compete nationally and internationally over the coming year.”

Dave Ellis, Chairman of the RYA’s LSEYTF added: "It’s fantastic for young sailors to be able to experience a range of opportunities, both in the UK and internationally, during their development as they learn so much. But the costs of travel, accommodation, food etc. all quickly mount up and the bursaries provide some assistance to our young sailors as they develop their sailing careers.

“We have an abundance of talent in the region and we want to give our young sailors, whether destined for ‘podiums’ or as coaches, the best chance to realise their ambitions.”

To discover how to get into sailing across London and the South East visit