Pitsford Pirates team of young windsurfers head into the Team15 national grand final unbeaten in 2012 after making it three wins out of three in the Midland Inter-Club Regional Challenge series on Sunday (2 September).
The Pirates had already wrapped up their third consecutive Midlands regional title before last weekend's event at Edgbaston, Birmingham after the cancellation of event three due to lack of breeze meant no other team could overtake them heading into the final regional showdown.
But the Northampton youngsters were keen to end their Midlands campaign on a high to ensure that they now head into the Team15 Champions Cup final, which will take place on their home waters of Pitsford Reservoir, on a high next month.
The Champions Cup final will see some 100 sailors from the Midlands and nine other regions do battle for the accolade of being crowned the UK's best young windsurfing team at Pitsford on 13-14 October.
Having taken third spot at last year's Champions Cup, Pirates would love to walk away with the overall 2012 national trophy. They will be doing everything they can to make sure they are as prepared as possible to try to make that happen.
Jon Sweet, Pitsford Pirates Team 15 Co-ordinator, explains: "We are training every Tuesday night in preparation for the Team15 Champions Cup and we have been lucky to receive additional coaching support from the RYA this summer.
"Some of our young windsurfers have also been doing regional racing and training events, which have helped them to practice skills and improve their windsurfing. Over the coming month we will be focusing on all aspects of getting a windsurf board around the racecourse quickly and things such as starting and tactics. We're looking forward to having a great time on the water, after all, windsurfing is meant to be fun!"
Oliver Smith was the Pirates' standout performer at Edgbaston, the 12-year-old winning every race in his first time ever in the 4.5m2 class by a commanding margin. Team15 is the RYA's youth windsurfing development programme, enabling kids aged 15 and under to learn new skills and develop under the guidance of specialist RYA coaches whilst having fun with their mates.
No fewer than 12 newcomers have started to sail at Pirates this year with 30 youngsters taking to the water on a weekly basis.
Sweet added: "The Team15 inter-club events are a great stepping stone for all young windsurfers, enabling them to compete against others and measure their progress during the season.
"What is working really well for us is that the younger ones are being helped along and encouraged by the older, more experienced ones. Most of our coaches are ex-Team15 windsurfers who competed at regional and national events, we have a system in place to provide assistant instructor training for them, which helps them to learn how to pass on their knowledge."
This year's Team15 events are being held under the banner of Sail for Gold, the nationwide London 2012 initiative from sailing's national governing body, the RYA, celebrating Britain's unmatched Olympic sailing heritage and inspiring more people to get out on the water. Sail for Gold aims to bring the buzz of the Olympics as close as home to possible for everyone.
Supported by industry leaders Tushingham/Starboard and Neil Pryde, RYA Team15 was set up to help make windsurfing more accessible and appealing to youngsters at a grassroots level.
Fun and informal training sessions take place at Team15 clubs all over the country for kids up to the age of 15.
Kit can be borrowed from the clubs and the cost of sessions is kept low. To get involved with Team15 and locate your nearest local club visit www.team15.org.uk or contact the RYA 0845 345 0400.