British Youth Sailing’s debut Regional Junior Championships has been hailed an overwhelming success after more than one thousand youngsters took to the water this weekend.
Children aged between six and 16 travelled from far and wide to eight venues across the UK for two days of fun afloat in British Youth Sailing’s recognised dinghy and windsurfer classes.
Among those taking part were some of the nation’s most promising young racers, as well as a host of kids getting their first taste of sailing.
The Regional Junior Championships were previously known as the RYA Zone Championships, but the decision was taken to change the name so as to truly reflect the nature of the regattas: a fun, inclusive festival of sailing for under 16s regardless of ability, but with a championship element for serious racers.
For the first time, competitors were split into three fleets – a new Fun OnBoard fleet for newcomers, a coached regatta fleet for those developing their racing skills and a championship fleet for experienced racers.
Members of the British Sailing Team including Rio 2016 Olympians Saskia Tidey and Ali Young were also on hand at a number of venues to talk to competitors and give them coaching tips.
Regattas were held in each of the RYA’s regions and home countries:
East – Grafham Water SC, Huntingdon, Cambs
London and South East – Queen Mary SC, Ashford, Surrey
South and South West – WPNSA, Portland, Dorset
North – Ullswater SC, Ullswater, Cumbria
Midlands – Northampton SC, Northampton, East Midlands
Scotland – Helensburgh SC, Helensburgh
Wales – Pembrokeshire YC, Milford Haven
Northern Ireland – Royal North of Ireland YC, Cultra, Co. Down
Competitors raced in all manner of conditions, from light winds and blue skies to strong breeze and driving rain.
Whatever the weather, the smiles remained glued to the faces of the children taking part.
Along with prizes for event winners there were a range of prizes for sailors exhibiting the British Youth Sailing Values and Behaviours and showing a passion for the sport.
“What a fantastic weekend everyone had at the Regional Junior Championships,” said Mark Nicholls, the RYA’s Youth Racing Manager.
“It was a massive success, with thousands of young sailors from all over the UK taking part in a real celebration of our sport.
“Seeing so many smiling, happy young people totally involved and engaged both on and off the water was wonderful.
“We enjoyed the biggest total turnout we’ve ever seen, and there was some real talent on show. The future of sailing is bright.”
Full results from each of the regattas can be found here.
Competitors have until Friday October 5 to enter British Youth Sailing’s photo competition, with prizes to be won.
To enter, upload your best photos of the event to Instagram and tag British Youth Sailing (@britishyouthsailing) or use the hashtag #RJC2018. The winners will be announced shortly after the competition closes.
Photos from each venue will be uploaded to social media over the coming week – so stay tuned, and if you spot yourself then get tagging!
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