09 Aug 2023 - 27 Sep 2023

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The British Keelboat Academy gives competitive dinghy racers the skills to move into the world of keelboat and yacht racing. The BKA is an excellent first step for dinghy racers and acts as the start of a young sailor's keelboat pathway. 

Whether you want to be a helm, foredeck crew, afterguard, or trimmer the BKA will provide you with opportunities on a range of boats to broaden your experience and see what appeals to you most. We believe that to develop well rounded keelboat racers it is important to develop an understanding of as many different positions onboard as possible.


Sailors from the BKA should develop some ability in all positions onboard. Individuals will want to focus on specific areas to help them move in the direction they are motivated. To balance both goals, the ‘crew positions’ will be simplified into three areas:

  • Foredeck - inc. Bow, Mast and Pit
  • Trimmer - inc. Pit, Spinnaker Trim, Jib Trim and Main Trim.
  • Afterguard - inc. Main Trim, Helm and Navigation/Tactics.

Training weekends are planned over the winter along with several online theory sessions: 

  • 27/28January 2024 - Symmetric spinnaker handling - working as a team, boat handling - QMSC/London 

  • 2/3 March 2024 - Inshore Yacht Racing - bigger teams, navigation, boat speed - Port Solent/Portsmouth 

  • 13/14 April 2024 - High performance asymmetric - decision making at speed, acceleration - Cowes 

As well as technical skills, the British Keelboat Academy programme will develop your teamwork, leadership, project management, physical fitness, and communication skills. These skills are not only crucial for a career in keelboat sailing but they are also transferable to life outside of sailing.

BKA provides you with great opportunities; you are exposed to a wide range of boats and disciplines that enable you to quickly learn what you enjoy the most. You will make friends and friendships which last! - Ellie Clark BKA 19/20

Specialist modules

As well as individual modules driving the weekend, there will be shoreside modules to round off their knowledge about practical sailing. These may include, but will not be limited to:

  • Boat Electronics
  • Engine maintenance
  • GRP and alloys
  • Rigging, ropes and hardware
  • Navigation and tactics
  • Toolboxes and quick fixes
  • Sail making and repair

Additional benefits

  • Crewsearch - crewing opportunities on race boats
  • BKA crew gear with discounted marine technical clothing
  • Discounted professional RYA training courses

To apply for the British Keelboat Academy, keep an eye out for the 23/24 entry by following British Keelboat Sailing on social media (Facebook & Instagram) - applicants must be available to attend the selection weekend on the 11/12 November 2023, if invited. You need to be a resident in the UK and be available to train and race in the UK. Applications are normally open between early August and late September. You need to be aged 18-24 years old during the squad year, see Notice of Selection.

The Selection weekend will be a chance for the coaching team to assess and review your sailing skills, aptitude, ability to learn, and to discuss your specific goals for the programme and personal performance on and off the water. Coaches will aim to tailor the weekend sessions to your requirements, so it is important to let them know what you want to achieve. 

Is the BKA right for you? The BKA exists to help dinghy racers move into keelboats, if you are already competing in keelboats and yachts then we recommend you check out programmes such as the Royal London Yacht Club's Etchell Youth Academy, or the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Griffin Initiative



Once you have been selected for the squad and confirmed your place, you will be added to a Slack group for all squad communications.  Although emails will go to squad sailors with initial invites, many last minute changes/updates will only be circulated in Slack.


Please be aware that accommodation and food are not included for the training weekends. Where possible, we hope to be able to provide accommodation on-board for the selection and inshore weekends.


All other general enquiries to keelboatracing@rya.org.uk