The British Youth Sailing (BYS) Regional Junior Championships for the North will provide a festival of junior sailing catering for all abilities from rookie sailors to experienced racers.

The event at Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club over the last weekend in September will be one of eight regional championships held at multiple venues, with the 2018 edition welcoming over 1,500 junior sailors and this year’s set to be even bigger.

There will be Championship racing for Topper, Optimist, RS Tera Sport and RS Feva XL sailors, a Coached Regatta Racing Fleet for the same classes with support for those relatively new to competing, and an OnBoard Fun Fleet for those learning sailing through OnBoard clubs and centres.

The format provides a great introduction to big events for new or less experienced juniors while at the same time offering competitive fleet racing for those who want to test their skills against the best up and coming young sailors in the region and apply for RYA Zone Squads.

Sam Usher, RYA North East Regional Development Officer, said: "This year’s championships will again be open to all junior sailors whatever their skill level or aspirations, whether that’s developing their skills through the OnBoard Fun Fleet, learning racing know-how in our Regatta fleet, or battling it out for results in the Championship fleet. Basically, if you’re a junior sailor, you’re invited!”

Junior sailors having fun on shoreTo help your junior sailor or club get set for the biggest event of the year in the junior sailing calendar, check out our at-a-glance guide below for all you need to know:

Overview: The former Zone Championships always welcomed regatta and main fleet sailors but last year the event changed its name and format to encourage even greater participation and provide a pathway for up and coming young sailors of all backgrounds and abilities.

Where can I take part? The BYS Regional Junior Championships take place at eight venues across the RYA’s England and Home Country regions in September. The North event over the weekend of 28-29 September is for junior sailors living in the RYA North West and RYA North East regions, with sailors invited to take part in one of three fleets.

What fleets can I join in with? The Championships will cater for squad sailors and experienced racing sailors and are also a great opportunity for club sailors looking to travel for the first time. With three different fleets there is something for all levels of sailing experience:

  • Championship Fleet: There will be championship racing for the following BYS Recognised Junior Classes: Optimist, Topper, RS Tera Sport and RS Feva XL. Sailors may stay afloat all day and there will be up to seven races over the weekend. The results count as an indicator for those who want to apply for RYA Zone Squads. Competitors shall be under 16 on the 31 December 2019, except for those in the RS Feva XL fleet, who must be under 17 on the 31 December 2019.
  • Coached Regatta Racing Fleet: For Optimist, Topper, RS Tera Sport and RS Feva XLs (sailing without spinnaker) who can sail around a triangle course and want to start racing. This fleet will be run by Zone coaches or the equivalent and will be a brilliant learning experience for sailors who want to improve their racing skills. It’s also great preparation for joining the Championship fleet next year. The programme will be determined by the Course Race Officer and coaches on the day and there is no maximum number of races. Competitors should be under 15 on 31 December 2019.
  • OnBoard Fun Fleet: End-of-season festival filled with games-with-aims sessions and heaps of OnBoard club camaraderie, with dinghies provided by the host club and entry limited to 36 sailors. Led by local OnBoard instructors and the target age for competitors is under 13 on 31 December 2019.

How do I apply for a squad? The regional championships are indicator event for sailors and windsurfers in BYS Recognised Junior classes who want to be selected for one of the RYA Zone Squads. Sailors must race in the Championship Fleet and submit an application for the relevant squad for their class and home address/home club. Zone Squads offer regional coaching for talented young sailors and windsurfers looking to develop their racing skills to progress into the RYA UK Junior Squads. Details about indicator events, selection policies and Zone Squad applications can be found here.

Prizes: Prizes will be awarded to sailors based on results, and in the Regatta and OnBoard fleets, at the coach’s discretion. For all fleets there will be prizes awarded to sailors who exhibit British Youth Sailing (BYS) Values and Behaviours. There are also trophies for clubs to win! There will be an RYA Regional Junior Championships Club Trophy for both the North East and North West Region, donated by the respective Regional Committees, awarded to the sailing club with the most entries, and a BYS Regional Junior Championship Club Development Trophy for the club with the largest increase in entry numbers from the 2018 Regional Junior Championships. Further information can be found in the Notice of Race, which sets out all the details about the regatta, including rules, eligibility and entry, fees, schedule and racing programme.

What about windsurfers? Junior windsurfers from North will be competing at the BYS Regional Junior Championships Midlands  event over the same weekend, 29-30 September, at Draycote Water Sailing Club. This event is for new and existing windsurfers entering or already windsurfing in the BYS Pathway, with Championship Fleets for the 4.5, 5.8, 6.8 and 7.8 Bic Techno windsurf classes. An ideal end-of-season goal for T15 windsurfers for all levels of experience and as for sailors, an indicator event for those seeking zone squad selection.

Where can I find out more? For all the official regatta details and documents visit the pages for the North championship for junior sailors, and Midlands championship for North region windsurfers. For both of these events the Notice of Race is now available - click on the PDFs under ‘Latest Document Updates’. Venue information can also be found on these pages. Information about Derwent Reservoir SC and places to stay can be found here. 

Entry fees & deadline: Singlehander £40; Doublehander £50; Coached Regatta Racing Fleet £40; OnBoard Fun Fleet £40. Entries must be made via the event online entry form on or before Sunday 22 September 2019. 

Junior sailors of all abilities from OnBoard clubs to experienced racers get set to go on the water at last year's Ullswater championships