The first offshore of the year for the British Keelboat Academy, the RORC Cervantes Trophy Race, proved a successful race for the BKA crew aboard Yeoman of Wight as they finished the weekend third in class, first of their design of boat and 20th overall.
The Cervantes Trophy Race marked the start of the RORC European race circuit with 11 races scheduled for destinations in Northern France, Holland, Ireland and many ports of call in the United Kingdom.
The crew who raced the Yeoman of Wight was made up of British Keelboat Academy sailors Henry Smith, Sam Matson, Peter Knight, James Brown, Alex Gardner, James O’Mahony and Robin Elsey with an average age of just 21 years old, including three crew members who were competing in their first offshore race. Despite having crew members who had only recently joined the RYA/UKSA’s joint Keelboat Programme, the crew demonstrated all the skills and attributes required to be part of a successful offshore campaign.
Skipper Henry Smith commented: 'For our first offshore race of the season there are a lot of positives which can be taken. For such a young crew, the proactive attitude which was displayed for the entire event was fantastic. We felt like we worked the boat harder than other boats around us and were upbeat with the sail changes. The weekend was already off to a good start before racing began with the majority of crew down at the boat the day before preparing the boat and getting to know the gear and sails.'
'A huge thanks must go to David Aisher for the use of Yeoman of Wight and its full sail inventory, as well as the RORC for setting a testing course. This is the first race of the season for us as we work towards competing in the Rolex Fastnet race. We still have a way to go both on and off the water, including needing to raise some sponsorship to cover the costs of the campaign, but we were pleasantly surprised with how well we got on'.
As well as the impressive finish of the BKA boat and the overall positives from the RORC Cervantes Trophy Race, there were also a number of areas which were highlighted by the BKA squad as things which could be improved, as BKA Head Coach Luke McCarthy points out.
'Learning to hydrate, eat and sleep at regular and appropriate times is usually a challenge for a relatively inexperienced crew in offshore racing, especially early in the season. It is something that we have worked really hard on in previous BKA campaigns, and great that the guys have identified this early in the season as something that they can improve on for future races.'
The BKA’s sponsors include X-Ray at 77 and Group Dental, plus a number of generous supporters and suppliers.
For more information about the British Keelboat Academy and how you can help with fundraising visit BKA website at www.britishkeelboatacademy.org