A promising young sailor from Kielder Water Sailing Club has been named RYA North East Regional Youth
Thirteen-year-old George Stewart from Ryton,
Gateshead, is one of 10 aspiring sailors from across the UK
selected for the awards, which recognise outstanding achievement in sailing,
windsurfing and power boating.
Rio Olympic sailor and 49er world champion
Dylan Fletcher will present a trophy to each of the regional youth champions at an official presentation on Sunday 4
March, at the RYA Dinghy Show in London.
George was nominated for the awards following
a year in which he excelled in both windsurfing and sailing - becoming the BIC
Techno 4.5 windsurfing national champion and improving his ranking in the
hugely competitive Optimist class.
His results led to George earning selection
to the RYA North and Midlands Windsurfing Zone Squad and to the national Optimist Development Squad, each of which aim to hone the skills of up
and coming talent.
George, who has a sports scholarship at Thorp
Academy in Ryton, benefiting from the school's Elite Performance Programme, has
chosen to take up a place in the higher level sailing squad and is now training
hard over winter.
He said: "I'll still be doing
windsurfing with my club but hope to focus on my Optimist sailing more. They're
great boats and I just love the experience of taking part in training and
sailing events all over the country. For the coming season I want to keep
progressing and keep pushing forward."
George has just returned from a squad camp on
the sea at Pwllheli in Wales and will be racing at the international Braassemermeer Regatta in
Holland over Easter ahead of the main UK championship season. He also plans to
continue competing with Kielder Water SC's Team 15 Kestrels windsurfing club.
Kielder Water SC committee member and
instructor Michelle Russell, who nominated George for the award, added that in
addition to George's success on the national circuit he had been sharing his
skills at his home club: "George has a positive attitude and is always keen to
help others who are less experienced, encouraging and supporting them both on
and off the water. He has assisted the coaches at Kielder Water's dinghy club
and is also a keen competitor in club racing when not travelling or training."
RYA Director of Sport Development Alistair
Dickson said: "We're
delighted to recognise the achievements of these sailors, who have all shown
lots of hard work, sacrifice and determination in the sport. The Awards also
help to emphasize the endless support of our many volunteers who work so hard
at the club level to give our sailors the best possible start to their future