The London Youth Games is Europe’s largest team competition with young people from across the 33 London Boroughs participating in over 60 sports including dinghy sailing. It’s a great opportunity for young Londoners to take up sailing and try racing.
For many youngsters this was their first regatta and their first ever sailing event away from their own home sailing club or centre, and Queen Mary reservoir was the largest piece of water they had sailed on.
Day one provided lively conditions and racing was postponed. After an early lunch competitors were launched and the racing got underway. Unfortunately a strong wind forecast forced the cancellation of Sunday’s racing.
Steve Mitchell, the RYA regional development officer for London and the South East, said:
“The event is in its fourth year and receives amazing support from QMSC including Queen Mary Sailability which is fantastic. The main highlight for me is the Hansa 303 Class which opens up the event for any sailor who may have sensory, learning & physical needs to compete.”
“This event demonstrates that sailing is a sport accessible for young Londoners through the many clubs, centres and volunteers who work hard to enable them to go sailing. Across the London Boroughs there are over 34 sailing providers with many being partnered to the RYA’s OnBoard programme, plus we have very active Sea Cadet and Scouting organisations who also work hard to support young people on the water. We should also mention the large network that sits on the outskirts of London”.
Oliver Dibartolo, London Youth Sailing League co-ordinator added: “There were challenging conditions for the sailors this weekend, many of whom had never sailed on such a large stretch of open water, so seeing their confidence and determination develop throughout the day was fantastic. As always it was a very rewarding event to support”.
On hand to help out with prize giving were Iona Dixon and Dudley Davies. Iona is a former London Youth Games competitor who sailed with Tower Hamlets. She has since gone on to sail the Laser Radial as partner for the Olympic development team. She has also had a season in the 470 dinghy class and was the first British sailor at 470 European Championships. Dudley has been volunteering for the past twelve years and recently retired as Bexley team manager having led the team to victory in 2015.
In the battle of the boroughs Tower Hamlets took gold for the event, with silver for Westminster and bronze for Hillingdon. View all the results from the day and find out more about the London Youth Sailing League and the London Youth Games
Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres.
The low cost sessions are designed to promote equal access to sailing for young people from all social and economic backgrounds, whilst encouraging their character development.
Since 2005, OnBoard has introduced more than 900,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK, converting some 70,000 of them into regular participants.
For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit www.rya.org.uk/go/onboard.