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Inspirational youngsters recognised with RYA Musto Youth Awards

by Susie Nation-Grainger 2 Mar 19:00 GMT 27 February 2022
RYA Musto Youth Award winners 2022 © Paul Wyeth / RYA

A new generation of inspirational young sailors were celebrated this weekend in the RYA Musto Youth Awards which were presented at the RYA Dinghy and Watersports Show.

The awards celebrate the achievements of young people in the sport whether on the racecourse, volunteering, instructing, coaching or overcoming adversity. They were presented to eight of the ten winners by Olympic gold medallist Dylan Fletcher and RYA Director of Racing, Ian Walker.

Francesca Neale, (South Cerney SC) joined Blind Sailing as a new young volunteer in 2019 just before lockdown. She quickly demonstrated her passion for sailing and joy for sharing the sport with others- a fantastic female role model. Her positive attitude has helped sailors to get back on the water, some having spent nearly 18 months indoors.

Will Sears, Christchurch Sailing Club, first tried sailing during an open day and quickly advanced in the RS Tera, being offered a place on the RS Tera National Squad training. In the spring of 2019, Will collapsed and was later diagnosed with having a stroke, Cavernous Malformations and after the brain injury, Focal Epilepsy.

Within eight weeks of his brain surgery, he was back out supporting people on the water. He is a qualified Assistant Dinghy Instructor and is an ambassador and Watch Leader for the Tall Ships Trust.

Ian Walker said: "Congratulations to all the winners. It's very impressive hearing what these young sailors have achieved in their lives. To have learnt so much about sailing themselves is a huge achievement, but to encourage others into our sport with such passion shows that the future of the sport is in good hands".

Hugh Brayshaw, Musto Marketing Projects Manager said: "We're very proud to be sponsoring the Youth Awards again especially when we learn about the worthy winners and their stories. Hearing about how sailing has helped overcome difficult times in a young person's life and the time donated to volunteering in their clubs is very inspiring to us. We hope this year's winners enjoy the Musto kit, it is extremely well deserved".

2022 RYA Musto Youth Award winners:

Ben Clark (16) Buzz Active
Ethan Weeks (17) North Lincolnshire
Emily Shears (16) Reading Sailing Club
Francesca Neale (15) South Cerney Sailing Club
Gabriel Davies (15) Brading Haven Yacht Club
Jacob Websdale (13) Margate Yacht Club
Leo Wilkinson (15) Maidenhead Sailing Club/HISC
Mia Grey (14) Felpham Sailing Club
Sarah Probert (18) Paignton Sailing Club
Will Sears (15) Christchurch Sailing Club

Find more information on how to get youngsters into sailing: www.rya.org.uk/start-boating/childrens-sailing

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