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Isle of Man Sailing Development Squad Race Training at Isle of Man Yacht Club, Port St. Mary

by Janine Jeffcoate 3 May 09:26 PDT 27-28 April 2024
Isle of Man Sailing Development Squad Race Training © Isle of Man YC

On the 27/28th April at the Isle of Man Yacht Club, Sammy Isaacs-Johnson, RS Aero UK Head Coach and highly successful international dinghy champion, delivered race coaching to members of the newly formed Isle of Man Sailing Development Squad. Access to this level of skill and racing experience has been of immeasurable benefit to the ambitious young sailors.

There are currently nine sailors in the new squad, aged 13 to 17, representing Isle of Man Yacht Club in Port St. Mary and Manx Sailing & Cruising Club in Ramsey. Club members, instructors and parents collaborated to provide this important progression pathway for teenagers, once they move out of the long established IOM Youth Sailing Squad and begin to represent the Isle of Man in more senior competitions at home and overseas. The Isle of Man has produced some excellent young RS Aero sailors in recent years and it is great to see a new enthusiastic group starting out.

Competitive rigging, race starts and tactics were amongst the skills covered. For some it was their first outing in a new class of boat, making this industry leading advice all the more valuable. Sammy Isaacs-Johnson commented,

"The Isle of Man is a fantastic location for sailing and I have been very impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment shown by the sailors this weekend. There have been clear improvements throughout the Squad and I am keen to return and build on this strong start as soon as possible."

New skills will be put into practise as Squad members head off island to compete throughout the season. Amongst the four female sailors are sisters, Roo and Lettie Hyett, both of whom will be representing the Isle of Man at the RS Aero UK Women's Championships on the Solent in July. Roo told us;

"It's been such a productive weekend. Sammy is so knowledgable and he communicates everything very clearly. I feel much better prepared for my championship event and am looking forward to putting everything we have learnt into action as we continue training. I hope he can come and work with us again soon. I really enjoyed it."

A key objective of the Sailing Development Squad is to help develop future Island Games competitors. Donald Edwards of Manx Sailing & Cruising Club explains;

"As an island nation our local sailing clubs are working hard to increase access and opportunity for children and adults to participate in the sport of dinghy sailing, using the excellent club fleets.

It is vital that youth sailing is encouraged and supported at all levels in order to build a strong talent pool. All Squad members and their families have made a significant commitment to training and competing for the Isle of Man, which includes the costs of owning and maintaining boats, taking boats off island to compete, coaching, event entry fees, insurance and sailing kit.

The Isle of Man Sailing Development Squad is very fortunate to have some support this year from Isle of Man Sport. However, sponsorship would certainly aid this promising group in developing and reaching their full potential."

Interested organisations can email for more information and a copy of the sponsorship pack.

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