Pro racing sailors to be groomed from amateurs

Kit Hobday and Peter Harrison have announced that they are joining forces
with the United Kingdom Sailing Academy in Cowes to form the Yacht Racing

The two well-known patrons of British yacht racing are making their
identical Far 52 yachts, Bear of Britain and Chernikeeff 2, available to
the new Academy, which will be managed by UKSA and is intended to help
young amateur sailors aged 18 and 25 experience big boat sailing and
develop match racing skills at a professional level.

The Yacht Racing Academy springs from the foundations created by Kit
Hobday in 2001 as the Bear of Britain Academy, now in its fourth year of
operation. Kit’s Bear of Britain is unique, in that she is the only yacht
of her size and complexity to be sailed successfully by an amateur and
youth crew, with an average age of under 23.

The first Yacht Racing Academy candidates began a two-week training
programme on 7 April. Candidates are participating in a period of intense
physical training under the control of the ex Royal Marine Commando
Instructors who have been involved in the race academy scheme for the past
two years. The exercise aims are not only physical but are designed to
increase ‘esprit de corps’. Successful candidates will be selected to form
two race crews that will continue the ethos of the academy by matching
young amateur sailors against professional crews competing at the top
level of big boat yachting. The crews for this years racing calendar will
be assessed during the two week period and selected on Saturday 22 April
prior to the Academy’s passing out presentation.

Once the Academy selection is over selected trialists will join the crews
of both Chernikeeff 2 and Bear of Britain with one of the main aims being
to provide one of the entries for Great Britain in the forthcoming
Commodores’ Cup. Bear of Britain was the lead boat in the successful
British victory in the 2004 Commodores’ Cup.

Peter Harrison, President of the Yacht Racing Academy said: “Hopefully,
after Valencia 2007, a new consortium in Great Britain will launch a new
America’s Cup campaign for 2010 or 2011. If so, the Yacht Racing Academy
will provide a training ground for the new generation of potential British
Olympic and Cup sailors.”