26/27 November 2016 - All Squads 

The British Keelboat Academy (BKA) is designed to support young people aged between 18 and 24 in developing the skills needed to take their keelboat and yacht racing to the next level, whether that is as club racing, one design keelboat racing or working as a professional.

The BKA works with sailors from across all areas of the sport. The aim of the programme is to help sailors learn the skills and make industry contacts that will enable them to develop their sailing within the area they would like to pursue.

Since the programme's inception in 2003, ex-programme sailors have gone on to join  Volvo Ocean Race teams, TP52 Super Series, Class 40 and Figaro programmes as well as racing on the World Match Race Tour and various other One Design and offshore programmes.

Sailors will receive coaching from a multitude of different experts across the sport gaining invaluable skills, experience and knowledge that will progress them in the world of keelboat racing.

The 2017 season will be split into four programmes; the Elliott, Etchell, Inshore and the Offshore - each focusing on a different area. BKA sailors will train with their preferred squad but will also have opportunity to experience other areas of the sport throughout the season.  The programme will not restrict the sailor in to one of the four areas but will actively encourage everyone to challenge themselves across the sport, creating new opportunities.

Elliott & Etchell Squads

These squads are aimed at three groups; those starting out in keelboat racing and looking to develop their basic skills and understanding, Match Racers looking to develop skills, meet new teams and gain training and funding towards national and international events. 

2017 will include an Etchell Squad who will receive intensive, focused training in Cowes over the winter and spring.

David Franks Cowes Etchells Fleet Captain said: "Over 200 youths have raced on Etchells over the past four years, many coming through the RYA's British Keelboat Academy, and this new agreement brings our relationship much closer. At the end of the programme, teams (including youths from outside the BKA) will compete to race on two fully funded Etchells for the 2017 season. Over 45% of the crew in our Fleet is now under the age of 25"

Inshore Squad

The Inshore Squad will be aimed at the more experienced keelboat sailors with a couple of seasons of experience racing on a range of keelboats. The programme will include training through the winter/Spring and then match sailors with suitable campaigns for the 2017 season.

Offshore Squad

The Offshore programme is aimed at sailors interested in developing their offshore racing skills. The sailors will be able to plan their own program around the RORC offshore series or the JOG offshore series. There will also be opportunities to join other offshore campaigns throughout the year.  Our strong focus for 2017 is the Rolex Fastnet Race.

 British Keelboat Academy key training dates:

  • 26/27 November 2016 - All Squads 
  • Elliott Squad (WPNSA): 21st/22nd January 2017, 4th/5th March 2017 and 18th/19th March 2017.  
  • Etchell Squad (Cowes): 19th/19th February 2017, 4th/5th March 2017, 18th/19th March 2017 & 1st/2nd April 2017. 
  • Inshore Squad: dates to be agreed (Feb-Apr).
  • Offshore Squad: (Inc 6-12th August 2017), dates to be agreed (Feb-Apr).

To apply for the British Keelboat Academy, you need to be aged between 18-24 years old during the squad year. You need to have a British passport (or eligible to have one) and be available to train and race on the south coast. The programmes include fitness sessions aimed at improving every sailor's personal fitness.

BKA applications close at 9am on Monday 24 October. To apply, please visit the British Keelboat Academy website and click on 'How to Apply' and complete the Survey Monkey form.

For further information follow the British Keelboat Sailing on Facebook.