Sub-menu Navigation

UK Junior Squads

Junior sailing The RYA UK Junior Pathway explained


Since 2000, the RYA has run one of the world's most extensive racing and race training programmes for sailors under 16. The overall aim for the Junior programme is:

"To develop the best young racing sailors in the world"

After progressing through Class Association Open and Zone/Home Country squad training, the top young sailors can gain selection to the RYA UK Junior Squads by competing on the class national competition series which are usually also the UK Junior Squad Indicator Events.

The RYA Junior programme aims to give young sailors the best start in their careers to enable seamless progression through the junior classes and into the Youth Programme. It is important young sailors enjoy their sport so they can successfully reach their fully potential.

Sailing is a complicated sport, and fitting it all in around school and family commitments can be a challenge.  The programmes fully embrace parents in helping the young sailors develop some basic planning and personal skills.

Key to this is having an effective plan covering all these different areas - School, family, exams and sailing. By the end of the Junior programme the sailor should be familiar with the plan and how to use it.  If young sailors can start to become aware of the weekly schedule and begin to run their own checklists and reminders for their sailing, these are skills that will help them be successful as youth sailors where non-dependence is most important.

UK Junior and Intermediate squad sailors are encoraged to consider themseleves as sports people, attending appropriate international competitions and develop robust routines within their training and racing to provide the perfect foundation for Youth and Olympic sailing. .

Junior sailors who are not initially invited for additional RYA Squad Training, and who continue participating within Open Training Programmes, can still be selected to Zone Squad training and UK Junior Squad Training at a later date should they perform well and make strong progress. 

RYA UK Junior Classes

  • Optimist
  • Topper
  • Cadet  
  • Laser 4.7
  • Bic Techno
  • RS Feva

The Training Programme

The training programme usually commences in October or November and consists of a comprehensive range of UK Squad training weekends, off-water workshops and international competition support to nurture the sailors towards achieving success at key international regattas the following summer. Support and information is also provided to parents, so the development of young sailors can be mutually managed. 

What Support is available?

As part of the UK Junior Squad programme sailors will normally:

  • Attend all UK Junior Squad training sessions
  • Have the opportunity to access remote coaching support from the UK Squad coach
  • Receive sports science support including advice on psycology, fitness, meteorology, nutrition, hydration, growth and maturation
  • Access international competition grants to international regattas
  • Access discounted squad clothing
  • Receive transitional advice for their UK Junior coach to assist progression into a recognised Youth Class.

How to qualify?

In order to gain selection sailors must normally meet the eligibility criteria and compete in the UK Junior Squad selection series detailed on the class specific pages and the relevant class association websites.

Please visit the following Junior Squad Selection page for further information on making an application, downloading the selection policy and viewing the specific class indicator events.

Squad Size

Depending on the class pathway you take the squad sizes can vary any where from 12 -32 sailors.

Whats next?

Following participation in the UK Junior Squad programme, sailors are encouraged to progress into one of the RYA recognised Youth classes. Once they have got their boat sailors, they can go straight into the Open Training programme organised by the relevant Class Association/ RYA. Within the Open Training sessions, there will be RYA coach support to assist in the Transition into their Youth Class boat.


Find books for your course at the RYA Shop

eBooks in the cloud
Our handy guide shows the books & DVDs that go with your course!
Please select...