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RYA Zone and Home Country Championships - Youngsters prepare to race

by Matt Carter on 26 Sep 2014
Drew Gibbons, Optimist, GBR 5791 - 2013 RYA Zone and Home Countries Championships. Paul Wyeth / RYA
More than 1,000 of the nation’s most promising young sailors will commence battle this weekend (27-28 September) as the 2014 RYA Zone and Home Country Championships greet the shores of nine venues across the United Kingdom.

Competitors aged between 8-15 from as far as Scotland to the south coast of England will battle it out for Championship honours in what is regarded as one of the pinnacle events on the RYA Junior Racing calendar.

Each event provides the country’s most promising young sailors the perfect opportunity to pit their skills against the best of the best in their respective RYA Zone and the chance to demonstrate to the RYA High Performance Managers and coaches that they’ve got what it takes to be selected for the RYA Zone and Home Country squads.

The RYA Zone and Home Country Championships traditionally mark the end of the Junior racing season and take place across the nine RYA recognised Junior dinghy and windsurfing classes at the six English Zones, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The event provides the young sailors with a great opportunity to experience big regatta racing without having to travel far from their home sailing clubs. This year’s Championships will welcome competitors from current RYA National Junior and Zone Squads, as well as many new club level racers, who will be venturing out on to the competitive circuit for the first time.

In addition to the RYA High Performance Managers, sailors will have the chance to showcase their talents in front of a number of British Sailing Team stars.

Olympic silver medallist Saskia Clark will be visiting her home sailing club at the East Zone, up and coming Finn sailor Ben Cornish will be at the South West Zone, 49er helm Dave Evans will be appearing at the regatta in Wales, Eilidh McIntyre will be visiting the South Zone and the South West Zone will welcome Nacra 17 sailor Nicola Boniface.

The British Sailing Team members will meet the youngsters and chat about their sailing career, from club level to their first regional event and how they progressed to elite level. They will give tips, advice, support and ultimately be there to help inspire the next generation of British sailors.

Saskia Clark, who has just returned from the 2014 Santander ISAF Sailing World Championships with a bronze medal in the 470 class, commented: 'I am really looking forward to heading back to my home club this weekend and seeing the talented young sailors vying for honours at the RYA East Zone Championships at Dabchicks Sailing Club and West Mersea Yacht Club.'

'I visited the South Zone event at WPNSA a few years ago and was extremely impressed with level of racing, the attitude of the young sailors and the amount of fun which everyone seemed to be having. The RYA Zone Championships is a fantastic event to compete in and I hope for many of the young sailors it will be the start of an amazing journey in the sport of sailing.'

The 2014 RYA Zone and Home Countries Championships will be staged at the following venues:

• South Zone – Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy
• South West Zone – Paignton Sailing Club
• South East Zone – Bewl Valley Sailing Club
• East Zone – Dabchicks Sailing Club and West Mersea Yacht Club
• West – Blithfield Sailing Club
• North – Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club
• Wales – Pembrokeshire Yacht Club
• Scotland – Largs Sailing Club
• Northern Ireland – Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

For further information on the 2014 RYA Zone and Home Country Championships, please click here.
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