NI team at virtual Eric Twiname Championships

15 May 20

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 teamed up with leading eSailing provider Virtual Regatta and the Eric Twiname Trust to ensure that young sailors got their racing fix despite not being able to hit the water. 

While it is not a replacement for the event proper, the eETs gave junior sailors the chance to sharpen their racing skills while on lockdown. 

The eETs took place over the same dates – May 8-10 – on the virtual waters of Portsmouth Harbour and was open to youngsters eligible to compete at the original regatta.

Racing took place in virtual J70s, with each of the classes racing in flights to determine a winner. 

James Farrell, the RYANI’s 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 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.” 

Joining the fleet of 65 Topper sailors from England, Wales and Scotland, the Team of 11 Northern Ireland sailors from the Topper Youth Performance Programme took part, with excellent results. Max Kilner from RNIYC was 8th and Zoe Whiteford from EABC came 9th and 1st girl. Well done to them and all the NI sailors.

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. 

NI Sailors:

Max Killner RNIYC Zoe Whiteford EABC Holly McConnell CAYC Charlie O’Malley DSC Toby Hughes RNIYC Emily Dickson DSC Erin McClernon CSC Matthew Loughlin CYC Joshua Kane EABC Callum Jackson CYC Daniel Palmer BYC