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British Keelboat Academy launches new hunt for tomorrow's stars

by British Sailing Team 31 Jul 2019 11:29 BST
Skill, adventure, teamwork, experience - The British Keelboat Academy © Sweet Bay Photography

The search for future keelboat racing stars has begun as applications open for the 2019/20 British Keelboat Academy.

The British Keelboat Academy supports sailors aged between 18 and 24 in developing the skills they need to take their yacht and keelboat racing to the next level.

The RYA has been running a programme for young dinghy racers wanting to make the transition to yacht and keelboat racing for nearly twenty years.

Its graduates have gone on to hold top positions in some of the world's biggest and best sailing events such as the America's Cup, The Ocean Race, the TP52 Super Series, Class 40 and Figaro campaigns as well as high level amateur sailing all across the UK.

Successful applicants will receive coaching from a multitude of different experts across the sport gaining invaluable skills, experience and knowledge that will progress them in the world of keelboat racing.

"The British Keelboat Academy gives sailors an opportunity to learn the skills to get them on a boat and keep them there," said BKA head coach Niall Myant-Best.

"It's not just about improving sailing skills, but the aim of the Academy is to produce well-rounded sailors who have the life skills to offer something valuable to any boat that they get on."

Following a combined training weekend in Portsmouth in November where the sailors will get the chance to meet each other and network with sailing professionals they'll have access to a series of skills clinics over the next three months covering match racing, symmetrical boat handling, inshore racing and high-performance asymmetric skills.

But the BKA also strives to provide sailors with a community which supports them in their aspirations.

"The BKA differs from a normal squad in that it provides a community of like-minded people that our members can access 24 hours a day to get advice, assistance and news of opportunities to go sailing," added Myant-Best.

Current BKA member Alida Lewis, 24, said she has benefited hugely from her time with the programme.

"During my two years with the programme I have not only received top level coaching from hugely experienced sailors, but also had access to amazing opportunities," she said.

"In the first year I went from an inexperienced racer to creating and leading a British Youth Team to the SB20 European Championships. The second saw me able to utilise the coach resources to refine and develop my skills. This has inspired confidence in my racing and led me to race on a variety of highly competitive boats."

Rebecca Coles, 18, added: "We have had the opportunity to access the world of high-level and professional yacht racing, and received training and mentoring from some of Britain's best sailors. This has unarguably been a springboard for all of our sailing."

The deadline for applications is 22nd September 2019.

For more information about the British Keelboat Academy and to apply for the 2019/2020 intake go to britishkeelboatacademy.co.uk

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