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NSSA National Youth Regatta at Draycote Water Sailing Club - Opening Ceremony

by Jeremy Atkins 24 Jul 2023 15:48 BST 23-28 July 2023

Throughout the day the competitors arrived, boats were unloaded and tents pitched. The site looked busy as Draycote Water was basked in sunshine and the hundreds of competitors, team managers and volunteers became acquainted with their home for the next week.

Those competing range from 8 years-old to just under 19, the boats from the stable Optimist to a tippy B14, with everything between. Three courses are planned, with separate fleets for ILCA 6s, ILCA 4s, Topper 5.3s and 3 separate handicap fleets.

By 7pm, the initial big task of feeding over 200 was complete and the teams put on their gear for the Opening Ceremony. A lone piper led the teams from the camping site in the Country Park, past Severn Trent's Visitor Centre and to the Sailing Club patio - it took many minutes for all the teams to troop past.

From the stage, Draycote Water Sailing Club Manager, and Event Director, Dave Rowe started the Opening Ceremony by asking each of the 15 teams to come up to the stage in turn to be applauded and have their photograph taken.

It was then the turn of Draycote Water Sailing Club Commodore, William Whittaker, to welcome everyone on behalf of the Club and to thank the organising team. William spoke of his experience of the friendships made at such events and hoped that everyone would respect their fellow competitors on and off the water, while getting to know each other.

He then introduced Club President and title sponsor, Jeremy Atkins of Fernhurst Books, who played a video of some of Fernhurst Books' authors welcoming everyone to the event, featuring two female gold medallists and finishing with the most successful Olympic sailor, Sir Ben Ainslie, who urged everyone, above all, to enjoy themselves.

It was just left to NSSA Chairman, Steve Lloyd to declare the NSSA National Youth Regatta 2023 open and for everyone to enjoy doughnuts and drinks! Sadly it rained during the night.

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