by Emma Slater
RYA Volvo Dinghy Show 2011 - Under an arch of Team15 balloons and matching orange and black beverages, friends, sponsors and some special ex Team15ers officially started celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of RYA Team15, at the Show (05 March).
Team15 celebrates 10th birthday - RYA Volvo Dinghy Show 2011
Created in 200l, the grassroots windsurfing programme was initially developed to form a network of windsurfing clubs and to introduce more youngsters into competitive windsurfing. Introducing the sport to youngsters of 15 and under, of all backgrounds and abilities. Today there are currently 70-80 Team15 clubs from a far afield as Cornwall and Scotland with many of them putting their windsurfing skills to the test in the Team15 inter-club championship.
'We are very excited to be launching the first of Team15’s 10th birthday celebrations here at the show' said Team15 Manager Gillian Wright, who was fundamental in setting up the programme.
'I am very proud of where we have got to today and it is fantastic to see the youngsters progressing from Team15 to succeed in a variety of windsurfing disciplines including racing, freestyle and waves. Whatever they go on to do, we hope that they will continue to windsurf long after their Team15 days.'
Freewave sailor, George Shillito, who not only learnt to windsurf with the Team15 Axbridge Animals but also runs his own team, the Polkerris Pirates in Cornwall, joined the celebrations in support of the programme.
George said: 'I am delighted to wish Team15 a very happy 10th birthday. It is a fantastic programme and it has enabled me to travel the world doing a job I love. I would not have got to where I am today without it and I can’t wait to see even more kids getting out on the water and learning to windsurf. '
Sailing sisters Imogen and Saskia Sills also turned up to help wish Team15 a happy birthday. The twins first learnt to windsurf with the Team15 Roadford Wreckers and have gone on to windsurf with the RYA in the BIC Techno National Junior Squad.
Imogen Sills explained: 'Team15 offers a huge amount of opportunity for youngsters to get into windsurfing. We wouldn’t have got to where we are today without it. It is really great and we will continue to encourage other people to get involved with Team15.'
For more information about Team15: Click here