Current members of the RYA's British Keelboat Academy are to be given temporary membership to the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) as part of a new partnership.

The BKA is a transition programme run by the RYA to help young sailors, aged 18-24, move into yacht and keelboat racing.

This year the academy has gone virtual due to the Coronavirus pandemic - and while a wealth of online resources has been created to help students, finding boats to sail on when events restart has proved challenging.

The new collaboration with RORC will aim to match BKA members with yacht owners and teams for upcoming regattas and races including the famous Rolex Fastnet Race through an online crew-match system.

For these young sailors, being able to deal directly with the RORC crew-match facility, as well as networking with owners and crew managers, will help them acquire the opportunities they need to further their ambitions and skills. 

Jack Fenwick, RYA Keelboat Development Manager, said: “The Rolex Fastnet Race is a highlight for many sailors but making those first connections when you set it as your season goal can be quite intimidating. Being able to include our sailors as a part of RORC for the year is a great opportunity to create lifelong connections and friendships. I look forward to working with the RORC and their members to ensure that they find the right sailors to fit their campaigns.” 

Nick Jones, chair of the RORC membership committee, added: “We have worked with the BKA unofficially on various projects in the past, but to be able to make this more formal arrangement is a great benefit to our members. The Royal Yachting Association have created some great online resources for these sailors to learn the skills they will need for the season ahead, and put them in a place where they can learn from our skilled and experienced members, who will be looking for talent to bolster their teams.”

The British Keelboat Academy is an annual programme run from November to October. Applications for the 2021/22 programme will open around the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race in August this year, so sailors looking to compete in future should keep an eye out for applications in the summer.

For more information, please go to www.britishkeelboatacademy.co.uk and www.rorc.org.