Eighteen lucky youngsters from the south coast will be part of one of the world’s most exciting sailing events this weekend when they take part in an exciting warm-up show at SailGP Cowes.
The young sailors will go head to head as part of the SailGP Inspire programme, SailGP’s community outreach initiative that aims to use sailing as a force for good, which launches at the event.
Aged between 13 and 15 and representing nine sailing clubs across the south, the young sailors have been chosen to take part in a series of races ahead of the main SailGP action – six cutting-edge 50ft multihulls, representing six nations, ‘flying’ round a course on hydrofoils capable of speeds in excess of 50 knots (57 mph).
They will race identical 14ft RS Cat multihulls in front of the SailGP Grandstand as a warm-up to the main event, which takes place in the Solent on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 and features some of the world’s best athletes.
They will also get to meet members of SailGP GBR (pictured above in action, and below), the British entry led by Olympic bronze medallist Chris Draper and helmed by the British Sailing Team’s Dylan Fletcher.
The sailors all come from clubs in the RYA’s South region which have been awarded Recognised Club status by British Youth Sailing in recognition of their dedication to developing junior and youth sailors’ racing skills.
Each club put forward sailors they felt best displayed British Youth Sailing’s values and behaviours: respect and integrity, ownership, courage and determination, curiosity and passionate ambition.
Those taking part are The sailors taking part are Abby Hire and Tom Wharmby (Royal Lymington Yacht Club), Grace King and Kristian Shafer (Brading Haven Yacht Club), Emily Fox and Oliver Edwards (Sea View Yacht Club), Georgie Cosens and Charlie South (Emsworth Yacht Club), Honor and Fred Langhorne (Bosham Yacht Club), Caitlin Williams and Cam Mitchell (Hayling Island Sailing Club), Joy Odey and Richie Thurlby (Hill Head Sailing Club), Lizzie McCormack and Archie Wright (Warsash Sailing Club) and Illy Burns and Thomas Leather (Gurnard Sailing Club).
Duncan West, RYA South and South West’s high performance manager, said: “It’s an absolute honour to be joining forces with SailGP for their UK regatta in Cowes this weekend.
“This is an incredible opportunity for these young sailors to experience being part of one of the biggest and most exciting sailing events there is.
“They will also get to rub shoulders with the stars of the British SailGP team who will no doubt inspire them to pursue their own sailing goals.”
In the run-up to Cowes SailGP, 32 young sailors from RYA Onboard clubs (pictured above) were treated to a tour of the SailGP Tech Area, enjoying exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the SailGP GBR base where they go to see an F50 up close.
Cowes SailGP starts on Friday August 9 with practice racing ahead of the main Grand Prix on Saturday August 10 and Sunday August 11.
The exhibition races will take place prior to the SailGP action at 3pm, with Sunday’s race being featured on the SailGP broadcast, available to watch via the SailGP app.