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Young sailors enjoy the buzz in the bay

by Michael Haigh 1 Oct 2018 17:31 BST
Young sailors enjoy the Buzz in the Bay © Emily Whiting

Buzz Active in Eastbourne together with Pevensey Bay Sailing Club launched a social racing series back in 2016 to provide a pathway to retain more youngsters who started sailing with the RYA OnBoard initiative.

Two summers on and the four-event 'Buzz vs Bay' series has been so successful that this year it was extended to other members of the East Sussex Coastal Federation and more events.

We asked Buzz Active lead instructor Katy Wilfort about the 2018 series:

How has the series gone?

All the way back on 9 June we had the first event of the series, 14 junior racers came to represent three different clubs. Since then we have had an amazing response from the local sailing clubs, with over 20 junior competitors to the next two events of the series; managing to reach a total of 39 individual juniors through the series so far.

The initial ideal for the series was to create a friendly environment for juniors of all abilities, be they total beginners or advanced racers, so everyone could compete and more importantly improve their sailing skills together. So far this has worked incredibly well with some of our beginner racers starting to do very well in the series; I put this down to the way that the more experienced/older kids have really taken to helping the newer guys with anything they might need from rigging for the conditions, to talking about a mini strategy for the race.

Overall the series has been so well received this year that another three clubs would like to get involved next year already.

How have the kids have benefitted?

Over the series the juniors have been out in a massive variety of conditions, starting with a hefty F5 and fairly big swell in Event 1 to completely flat waters and light winds in Event 3. This means that not only are they getting out and improving their racing skills, they are also making huge leaps forward with their sailing abilities in general by getting out in conditions they wouldn't normally sail in, purely because they want to race.

Dealing with such a variety of conditions has improved their confidence to the point where the beginner racers/newer sailors are keen to give double handed sailing a shot and the more advanced sailors/racers are now moving onto multihull sailing too.

What did the kids say about it?

Alex E (13) – Buzz Active
"A fantastic start to my sailing career, I love to try and beat all the rivals that come to race against us. Great to meet new friends and feel supported and celebrate every race. We learn from each other. All the instructors and Buzz Active team are always happy to help and support us all. I can't wait for the next race!"

Patrick R (11) – Buzz Active
"It was great fun, we must beat Pevensey! Would definitely do again."

Mathew R (15) – Buzz Active
"The Interclub Regatta Series has been really enjoyable. We have been fortunate enough to get some nice conditions for the races. I have learnt a lot about racing because of it, especially about line biases, laylines and starting positions. Also using skills such as using spinnakers while racing helps for when you are just sailing regularly. Overall the racing has been great fun!"

Who won?

The winning team was Pevensey Bay Sailing Club

The winning individuals were:

1st – Chris Corke (Pevensey Bay SC)
2nd – Saul Harwin (Pevensey Bay SC)
3rd – Alex Eldridge (Buzz Active)

And what does the RYA say?

RYA OnBoard operations officer Hannah Cockle says: "It's fantastic to hear about the success of the 'Buzz Vs Bay' series – not only does it promote our sport, it supports young sailors on their pathway to becoming sailors for life. They are getting the chance to experience sailing at differing locations, meeting new people and being pushed out of their comfort zones. As a result not only will they become more capable sailors they will become better learners improving skills such as communication, teamwork and determination. This will undoubtedly help them in other aspects of their lives."

Buzz Active and Pevensey Bay Sailing Club are RYA Approved Training Centres. Pevensey Bay is an RYA Champion Club.

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