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Starcross Yacht Club George Eaton Junior Shield

by Peter Solly 21 May 06:32 BST

Starcross Yacht Club (SYC) has awarded its prestigious George Eaton Junior Shield to Polly Scott and Pip Paley, recognising their sailing achievements away from the club. Both Polly and Pip have developed their sailing immeasurably in the last 18 months, and are now regularly travelling nationally (and internationally) to events.

At the end of the Summer season in 2022 Polly and Pip were both keen to move on from the 1 person RS Tera into double-handed sailing in the RS Feva Class. They persuaded their parents that this was a good idea, and were able to borrow the Club Feva from Lympstone Sailing Club for the Winter season of training. With Polly helming and Pip crewing, they tried out for the RYA Regional Training Group (RTG) and were delighted to be awarded a place.

It was a steep learning curve, and through the RYA training sessions they learned how to sail the boat well and to work together as a team. They visited many Clubs around the South West - most of the weekends were very windy! Their favourite weekend was at St. Mawes Sailing Cub, which was a beautiful sailing area and the Club was very friendly.

They also met other sailors from Clubs around the South West, and made many new friends.

They were invited to the Eric Twiname Championships at Rutland Water in May 2023 as part of the South West Team. All regions of the UK are represented there, in Optimists, Teras, Fevas and ILCA 4s. The wind was very light and shifty, completely different conditions to anything they'd ever sailed the boat in before!

Their final event as a pairing was the Feva Nationals in June, at Pwllheli. It was an amazing 5 days of sailing with high-quality racing on sparkling water, and they really enjoyed the social side as well as the big fleet racing.

The RYA Regional Junior Champs were at the end of June, and as Pip was keen to helm both girls were looking for new crews. Pip sailed with a crew new to Feva racing for the event, and Polly sailing with and Jack (also SYC) were able to win the event after some very close competition - it all came down to the last race!

Pip has continued to helm in Fevas, doing the RTG and Feva Class Open circuit with Noah (from Lyme Bay SC), and putting in some very respectable results through the Winter. They were 3rd Mixed Team at the Eric Twinname Champs in 2024 and they have high hopes for the National Championships followed by the Worlds this summer. She has also continued to race the Class Open circuit in her Tera, and will be going to the World Championships in Denmark this Summer.

As she is a year older than Pip, Polly has made the step up into a bigger and faster doublehander, the 29er. She has been doing the Class Open circuit and many training events with Anna, who she met as a sailor in the South Region Feva RTG, and whose Feva was next to theirs in the dinghy park at the ETs. It's been quite a big step up into the new class, not just because the boat is bigger and faster, but because the older teenagers sailing at the front of the fleet are so good. But they always seem to have smiles on their faces, even when it's really cold!

The Shield has had many illustrious winners spanning decades. Both girls embody the underlying spirt of this award, which is to work hard and develop as a sailor, whilst also having fun.

Find out more about Starcross Yacht Club at www.starcrossyc.org.uk

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