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Race Training with Jim Saltonstall
Race Training with Jim Saltonstall

OnBoard Regatta at Upton Warren Sailing Club

by Karenza Morton 20 Jul 2018 16:43 BST 14 July 2018

South Bromsgrove High School are celebrating after lifting the Best School Team trophy for the first time ever at the annual Worcestershire Youth Sailing (WYSA) OnBoard Regatta at Upton Warren Sailing Club on Saturday (14 July).

The regatta, which has been running since 1982 under its previous guise of the Worcestershire Schools' Sailing and Canoeing Association (WSSCA), saw 10 schools from across the county come together to do battle for a number of trophies, rewarding the most experienced and talented young sailors in the county as well as celebrating the achievements of those who are new to the sport.

Worcester Sixth Form College's Ed Rose, who won his first WCSSA accolade representing Martley Primary School in 2007, bought his WYSA event trophy tally to nine in 11 years as three race wins and a second saw him land the Senior Racing fleet trophy in his Laser Standard for the third year running. Meanwhile, Archie Coates, who until recently attended Westacre Middle School, won all four of his races to take the Junior Racing fleet trophy.

However, the day was as much about the rookies as those leading the pack and additional awards went to Emily Russell (The Chase School), who picked up the Hereford Shield for Most Improved, Lia Horne (South Bromsgrove High), who received the Margaret Alton Award for Best Girl and Izzy Rollit (Westacre Middle) and Claudia and James Evans (Bowbrook House), who were awarded the Collings Cup for Enthusiasm to the Fun Racing Fleet.

WYSA aims develop young people under 19 in dinghy sailing and recently became one of the first organisations in the country to receive British Youth Sailing Recognised Club status celebrating excellence in developing future sailing stars. Many of the youngsters have learned to sail with their schools through RYA OnBoard, the national sailing programme providing low cost opportunities for kids aged eight to 18 to learn to sail and stay in the sport.

Vivien Brookes, WYSA Chair, said: "You could see the confidence the sailors had acquired both on the water and off it in the way they communicated and how determined and independent they were, and it was fantastic to see the newer or less experienced sailors want to push themselves.

"For example, two sailors who had trained with the junior fleet all season, Alice Russell and Lia Horne, decided they would like the challenge of racing with the senior fleet and did exceptionally well finishing in third place and and fourth place respectively.

"The junior fleet attracted four new sailors to WYSA, who joined five sailors that only started training with this fleet in April and had sailing but no racing experience. They all raced competently, having improved considerably in this short period of time. Meanwhile, the sailors in the Fun Racing fleet enjoyed a varied programme of activities on the water, including an introduction to racing and sailing Topper dinghies for the first time."

With the wind not playing ball first thing in the morning, the youngsters took part in the event's usual canoe slalom and canoe long distance races before they were able to hoist their sails and get the dinghies afloat as the breeze eventually filled in. A willing team of 17 volunteers supported the event with the regatta coming to a close with the traditional 'thank you' BBQ.

The 10 participating schools were, Westacre Middle School (Droitwich), The Chase School (Worcester), South Bromsgrove High School (Bromsgrove), Worcester Sixth Form College, Elmfield Rudolf Steiner School (Stourbridge), Bowbrook House (Pershore), Dodderhill Independent Girls School (Droitwich Spa), St Wulstan's Catholic Primary School (Stourport-on-Severn), Droitwich Spa High School and Malvern College.

Since 2005, OnBoard has helped over three quarters of a million young people try sailing and windsurfing and learn an activity that often stays with them for life. For more information about WYSA go to www.wysa.club or to find out how your school or club could get involved in RYA Onboard visit www.rya.org.uk/go/onboard

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