‘Keelboat College’ aims to mimic Olympic success

The RYA’s Team GBR has enjoyed an outstanding run of success stretching back nearly a decade to Sydney 2000. The single-mindedness that produced a programme capable of delivering an ever-growing stack of medals is now being focused on keelboats.
In partnership with the UKSA, the RYA has formed the British Keelboat Academy. This will nurture major keelboat prospects aged 18-24, preparing them for a career at the highest level, including the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race, and applications are invited now. The closing date for application is 20 November. Click here to apply via the www.britishkeelboatacademy.org website.
The new programme combines the former RYA Keelboat programme and UKSA’s GBR Yacht Racing Academy giving those involved access to the expertise and facilities of both organisations. Run to RYA standards and delivered by UKSA’s head coach, Luke McCarthy, the British Keelboat Academy will offer 50 individuals a one to two-year mixed programme covering all aspects of training, racing, boat work and electronics.
As part of the British Keelboat Academy programme, the RYA and UKSA will continue to run the TP52 John Merricks II, provided by the John Merricks Sailing Trust for selected campaigns in 2010, and its Crewsearch scheme which matches sailors with skippers and boat owners looking for young talent for their keelboat campaigns.
Ben Willows, Director of Operations at UKSA, said: ‘Both organisations are passionate about giving young sailors the opportunity to get out on the water. We hope to inspire and support even more young people and widen access to top level racing for those already involved in the sport and also for those that wouldn’t normally have the opportunity.’
RYA Racing Manager John Derbyshire commented: ‘Providing a constant stream of talented sailors into keelboat campaigns remains a key priority for this programme. The mix of expertise and resources UKSA and RYA are bringing to the Academy programme will create an invaluable and world leading training resource, which will continue to produce top class keelboat sailors.’