by Matt Carter
More than 1,000 of the nation’s sailing stars of the future will be bidding for bragging rights this weekend (28-29 September) as they battle it out at the 2013 RYA Zone and Home Country Championships.
Zak Morton,Topper,GBR 47306 - RYA Zone and Home Country Championships 2012
Sailors aged between 8 – 15 from the nine venues across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will tussle for Championship titles in what is regarded as one of the pinnacle events on the RYA Junior Racing calendar.
The RYA Zone and Home Country Championships traditionally mark the end of the Junior racing season and the start of a hard winter’s training. They are a key event for any young sailor wishing to be selected for the RYA Zone and Home Country squads, which are the first step on the pathway to Olympic Classes sailing.
Having honed their skills at club training and competitions throughout the year, the annual Championships give the sailors the chance to pit their wits against the best of the rest within their Zone under the watchful eye of their local RYA High Performance Managers (HPMs) and other senior RYA racing staff.
Racing will take place across the nine RYA recognised Junior dinghy and windsurfing classes including the Mirror, Optimist, Topper, RS Feva, Cadets and the windsurfers on the Bic Techno using the open 4.5, and 5.8 rigs, and the Techno 6.8s and Techno 7.8s – classes vary according to each venue. The Laser 4.7 fleet will also be represented at Grafham Water Sailing Club as part of their UK Junior Squad indicator series.
Henry Stone and Hattie Collingridge,Cadet - 2012 RYA Zone and Home Country Championships
Each Zone and Home Country Championship venue will also offer ‘novice’ regatta fleets for Toppers, Optimists and the RS Tera. This is an event for sailors to set themselves an end-of-year goal after training and racing at their local club or RYA training centre during the summer months. It will give young sailors a good learning experience to help start them along the pathway to success. Fleets will vary according to each venue.
Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, commented: 'The RYA Zone and Home Country Championships are nine individual Championships delivered concurrently to a very similar format and schedule, and together as well as individually they represent a real highlight of the RYA Junior Racing programmes.
'The events offer young sailors their first experience of a major multi-class regional event with all the support and guidance of RYA staff and coaches, as well as a host of local volunteers intent on delivering the very best competition and development experience. We are very much looking forward to welcoming sailors and parents from all over the United Kingdom and helping them to start the journey into the RYA squad programmes and beyond.'
The 2013 RYA Zone and Home Countries Championships will be staged at the following venues:
• The RYA South Zone Championships – Poole Yacht Club.
• The RYA South West Zone Championships – Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.
• The RYA South East Zone Championships – Queen Mary Sailing Club.
• The RYA East Zone Championships– Grafham Water Sailing Club.
• The RYA West Zone Championships– Draycote Water Sailing Club.
• The RYA North Zone Championships – Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club.
• Welsh Youth and Junior Championships – New Quay Sailing Club, Ceredigion
• RYA Scotland Youth and Junior Championships – East Lothian Yacht Club
• RYANI Youth Championships and NI Schools Cup In association with McCready Sailboats – Ballyholme Yacht Club, Co Down