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Winner of the Panerai Challenger Trophy 2019 announced

by Helen Skelton-Smith 27 Jun 19:52 BST
Bradley Pedrick wins the Panerai Challenger Trophy 2019 © OnBoard

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and Panerai are delighted to announce that the winner of the Panerai Challenger Trophy is 11 year old Bradley Pedrick, who sails at Polkerris Beach in Cornwall.

The Panerai Challenger Trophy was created by Italian luxury watchmaker Panerai together with the RYA's OnBoard programme and is designed to promote the power of sailing in positively impacting young people's lives. The initiative funds grants to young individuals that have overcome physical, economic or social challenges to achieve significant milestones in their sailing or windsurfing.

Brad started sailing at Polkerris Beach, the training centre that nominated him for the award, just a year ago with his school, and has thrown himself into the sport, despite having a lot to contend with. As a three-year-old, he had his leg amputated below the knee due to a rare condition; at just seven, he had to have kidney surgery and then, shortly afterwards, he suffered serious burns in an accident. In addition, he has undergone revision surgeries on his leg, which will continue until he is fully grown. He has nevertheless learned not just to sail, but to put on a wetsuit over his prosthetic leg, carry his own kit down the beach and work with, and help, others.

"When I first got in the water and started sailing I was really scared and a bit nervous but I'm now really happy when out on the water and it helps me take my mind off everything." said Bradley

"I really look forward to helping less confident people and help them love sailing too. I love sailing so much that I now want to be a Paralympic sailor."

Upon accepting the trophy, Bradley very graciously led a round of applause and congratulated the other finalists adding: "I did not expect to get into the top four, I really did not expect it at all. I'm so happy for all the finalists. Well done to everyone for always trying and doing your best in sailing."

According to Brad's mum, Cheryl, sailing has given him focus, and much more: "He's the kind of boy who wants to be active all the time and he has lots of energy. He just gets on with it - he's amazing how he adapts to things and has a positive attitude to everything. It's given him a huge focus and it's helped him to be calm and focused in school too, knowing that he has sailing to look forward to."

Bradley received a grant of £5,000 to continue his development in sailing. Polkerris Beach will also receive a grant of up to £10,000 to purchase new equipment that further supports junior sailors or windsurfers.

Winning the grant will mean a huge amount to Brad. It will enable him to have one-to-one sailing sessions, which combined with his regular attendance at his sailing club, will help him to build on his passion for sailing and develop his talent.

Bradley also received the impressive Challenger Trophy, designed by leading contemporary designer Simon Hasan. Inspired by the craft of classic boat building and Panerai's classic yacht "Eilean", built in the famous Scottish boatyard Fife in 1936. Given his innovative use of materials, embracing both ancient craft and industrial processes, he was a natural fit to the task.

The three runners-up - who will also receive £2,500 each along with £5,000 for their clubs - of the Panerai Challenger Trophy were:

  • Vanessa Hutchison, Crawley Mariners Yacht Club, Felbridge, West Sussex
  • Matthew Gilbert, Somerset Youth and Community Sailing Association
  • James Catterall, Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club

Jean-Marc Pontroué, CEO of Panerai, who has overseen the launch of these projects, commented: "Sailing can unite communities across the world, and we are delighted to partner with the RYA to support young talent for a second year running. Panerai continues its quest to strengthen the links with the sea and community initiatives to nurture this journey into the future."

RYA Chief Executive, Sarah Treseder said: "Each story speaks of perseverance and hardship, but also of hope and happiness. It was extremely challenging to select the finalist and we hope Bradley's truly inspiring story will help inspire more young people to harness the positive benefits that watersports can bring to a young person's life. We thank Panerai for making this possible."

Sarah added: "Created together with the RYA's OnBoard programme, this joint initiative with Panerai, is designed to promote the many positive benefits which getting out onto the water can bring to young people's lives. We are thrilled that this year, we have once again heard from so many inspiring youngsters and their stories of overcoming adversity, plus the positive benefits which this has brought to themselves, their families and their sailing communities."

During this 3-year initiative, Panerai has committed to making a total investment of £120,000 to demonstrate the sport's accessibility and to inspire the next generation of sailors.

The brand, known for its relationship to watersports, has recently unveiled their sponsorship of America's Cup Challenger, Luna Rossa.

Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres.

The low cost sessions are designed to promote equal access to sailing for young people from all social and economic backgrounds, whilst encouraging their character development.

Since 2005, OnBoard has introduced more than 900,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK, converting some 70,000 of them into regular participants.

For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit www.rya.org.uk/go/onboard

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