by Matt Carter
With the closing date for applications on Friday 13th December 2013, aspiring dinghy and keelboat sailors from around the country have one week left to enter the 2014 British Keelboat Academy (BKA).
BKA sailors in action
The BKA, the RYA and UKSA joint keelboat racing initiative, produces a constant stream of credible and talented young keelboat sailors by developing sailors’ sailing ability, technical and personal skills to allow them to compete at the top level. The programme is open to all 18-24 years olds with the aim of widening access to the sport of keelboat racing.
Over the years, some of Britain’s brightest keelboat stars have cut their teeth in keelboat racing with the BKA Squad, some of these including Paul Campbell-James, now with Prada America’s Cup team and Chris Noble, the current boat captain and trimmer aboard the all-conquering RC44 Team Aqua.
Whether it’s a sailors first time or they are an experienced keelboat sailor there is something for everyone to gain by becoming a member of either the Core or Elite British Keelboat Academy Squads.
The BKA Core Squad programme is designed for sailors with some keelboat sailing experience or dinghy racing experience. Spread over four weekends at either Cowes, Isle of Wight or at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, each weekend will focus on a different area; One Design, Inshore, Match and Offshore racing. Along with the practical training during each weekend, sailors will be looking at fitness, teamwork, leadership, communication and media skills.
Please apply here for the BKA Core Squad
With the continued support of Niklas Zennström’s RAN team and loan of their Farr 45 ‘Kolga’, the BKA Elite Squad will train experienced keelboat sailors to a professional level. Sailors will be looking at their fitness, career development, team development, nutrition, lifestyle management and will take their skills to the next level looking at strategy, tactics and preparation.
Please apply here for the BKA Elite Squad
Every year the BKA look to develop the programme and take things forward as the sport and sailors evolve and 2014 will be no different as BKA Head Coach, Ash Holmes, explains: 'We have spent the past six months looking at the new programmes, getting feedback from the sailors, the professionals and industry experts. We now have the structure in place to grow the British Keelboat Academy into a World Class training programme. We have some exciting plans for the future and I’m looking forward to working with some of the best RYA coaches to help train the next generation of top UK keelboat sailors.'
Nigel King, RYA Racing Keelboat Manager, added: 'The British Keelboat Academy offers a unique programme and is a fantastic opportunity for young sailors getting started in the keelboat world. It can provide those crucial introductions, specific training and tailored support that will help them decide the pathway they would like to follow.'
Along with top coaching and a free Crewsearch service, the BKA sailors will benefit from discounted clothing and courses from the UKSA.
Applications for the British Keelboat Academy will close on Friday 13th December 2013. For further information including the Selection Criteria for each squad click here.