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Young sailors attend RYA Northern Ireland selection weekend at Cushendall Sailing & Boating Club

by Emma Blee 16 Oct 06:20 BST 10-11 October 2020
RYA Northern Ireland Performance selection weekend © RYA Northern Ireland

More than 30 youth Laser sailors from 10 clubs across Northern Ireland travelled to Cushendall Sailing and Boating Club for the RYA Northern Ireland Performance selection weekend.

The event, which took place on 10 and 11 October, saw the young sailors taking part in two days of coaching and selections.

Strict Covid-19 arrangements were in place and sessions took place outdoors in three groups with Laser Head Coach Barry McCartin, Performance Development Officer James Farrell and Performance Manager Andrew Baker.

Commenting on the action packed weekend, Andrew Baker said: "Saturday was all about boat handling and shaking off any rustiness form a season with less sailing than normal. Gusts of 20 knots were a rude awakening for some. By the end of the day the groups were showing real promise and becoming more competitive within themselves.

"Sunday put into practice the previous day of training with a drill focusing on boat speed and changing gears in a laser. These sessions were aided by the ever-changing weather which had the sailors working the boats through light drifting conditions right up to flat out hiking."

He added: "The weekend concluded with three large races bringing all the groups together giving additional pressure of performing among a larger number of boats, which is what the sailors can expect at future events."

Reflecting on the success of the event, Baker said: "It was a great weekend and I am very pleased given the current Covid-19 climate that we were able to run the Performance selection weekend.

"I am impressed by the enthusiasm shown by all the participants. This was my first selection weekend as Performance Manager and I am pleased to see the talent Northern Ireland has to offer and excited to grow and support our future sailors.

"I would like to thank everyone for understanding the circumstances and helping us run the weekend safely and in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines."

The successful young athletes who have been selected by RYA Northern Ireland will now be invited to be part of the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Performance Programme and undergo six weekends on-water coaching, as well as other campaign support throughout the Winter period.

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