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IAKA Youth Team podium on Women's Day at Cowes Week

by Louay Habib 4 Aug 06:30 BST 31 July - 6 August 2021
Cowes Week 2021 day 3 © Ingrid Abery / www.ingridabery.com

Having won the selection event at the Royal Southern YC July Regatta, the newly established IAKA Youth Team is competing in the SB20 Class at Cowes Week. This was made possible by the collaboration of the Ian Atkins Keelboat Award (IAKA), administered by the John Merricks Sailing Trust, the SB20 Class UK and Sportsboatworld.

On the fourth and final day of the SB20 Grand Slam Series at Cowes Week, Alex Hamel was appropriately driving the SB20 for the IAKA Youth Team. Finishing the series with a bang, the team scored a seventh in the first race of the day and a memorable second place in the final race, to finish a thrilling series on a high.

"We are very happy, and this week has been a learning curve," commented Alex Hamel. "We have improved massively over the week and today the conditions suited us as we are all pretty good at tactics which become more important in light winds. Once we get into the competition, boat on boat is a strong point for our team. This has been an amazing experience, more than I thought it would be and it has been really good fun with three races every day and the social side in the evenings."

The IAKA Youth Team skipper Patrick Whelan summed up the Grand Slam Series for the team. "In the last race, the only boat ahead of us was dad!" smiled Patrick. "This feels like all our hard work has started to pay off. As we crossed the line, some other the other boats were saying well done, so we are really chuffed to bits to be honest. The IAKA is all about making the transition from dinghies to keelboats and on the way back in after racing the chat on our boat was how we are keen to do a lot more events. Making the change to keelboats has been really helped this week by the variety of conditions, the learning curve is quite steep, but our results today were pretty good and we are looking forward to improving in the rest of the competition."

Ian Atkins was interviewed about the IAKA initiative and what it is trying to achieve for youth sailors. Racing continues for the IAKA Youth Team with the Mini-Slam continuing right up to Friday 6th August. To register your interest in the IAKA enterprise email:

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