Northern Ireland’s Lucy Kane selected for the British Keelboat Academy

Success for Northern Ireland’s Lucy Kane as she is selected for the British Keelboat Academy
15 Dec 23
Lucy Kane at the helm

East Antrim Boat Club’s Lucy Kane says she is “very excited” following her recent selection for the British Keelboat Academy.

The British Keelboat Academy is an RYA scheme which aims to offer the next step to dinghy racers looking to transition into keelboat sailing.

The 22-year-old student from Queen’s University Belfast was selected for the programme following her excellent performance at the selection weekend in Port Solent in Portsmouth, but prior to this competed at a high level as a dinghy racer.

In 2019, she won the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Championships in the 420 class and was selected to represent Ireland at the Junior Europeans in VilaGarcía de Arousa in Spain. She now regularly team races with Queen’s University.

Over the next six months, Lucy will receive first rate coaching and support on key aspects of keelboat sailing such as spinnaker work, navigation, inshore yacht racing and decision making at speed. The programme also aims to develop key skills or attributes which are not specific to sailing such as teamwork, leadership, project management, physical fitness, and communication.


Lucy said: “After hearing about the programme online, I decided this would be a really good opportunity to develop my skills further at a higher level.


“I was very pleased and excited to be offered a place on the British Keelboat Academy. I’m looking forward to sailing over the winter months, with the opportunity to meet other like-minded sailors and to learn as much as I can from very experienced coaches.


“The selection weekend was good in itself where we were given talks and demonstrations on sails, ropes and safety as we visited the North Sails loft. There was also a talk from Hannah Diamond about her sailing on The Solent.”


Training weekends are planned to take place over the winter along with several online theory sessions:

  • 27/28January 2024 - Symmetric spinnaker handling - working as a team, boat handling - QMSC/London 


  • 2/3 March 2024 - Inshore Yacht Racing - bigger teams, navigation, boat speed - Port Solent/Portsmouth 


  • 13/14 April 2024 - High performance asymmetric - decision making at speed, acceleration - Cowes 

Lucy is also an RYA Northern Ireland Topper coach, who has contributed significantly to the development of youth sailing in Northern Ireland. As part of RYA Northern Ireland's five-year strategy, Navigating The Future, we have launched a Coach Development Programme offering free training to those aspiring to be national level coaches. If you are interested in applying to be part of the programme, you can apply here.

Applications for this year’s British Keelboat Academy have closed, however if you would be interested in learning more about applying to be part of the programme next year, please get in touch by emailing .