New academy put to the test

With an average crew age of just 21, members of the GBR Yacht Racing Academy onboard Peter Harrison’s Farr 52, Chernikeeff 2 are less than 24 hours from finishing the toughest Fastnet race in years, which has seen force 8 gales and ferocious ocean swells.


The race is a huge challenge and learning curve for the young crew members, many of whom had never stepped foot on a racing yacht prior to being selected for the GBR Yacht Racing Academy in April of this year, making their achievement even greater.


Since being selected the young crews have received top level tuition and coaching from UKSA staff and industry experts and have competed in a series of regattas, inshore and offshore races to gain valuable experience in preparation for the race.


The GBR Yacht Racing Academy, run and managed by UKSA in Cowes provides opportunities for young people aged between 18 and 25, irrelevant of background, financial circumstance or experience, to race aboard top spec racing yachts whilst developing key life skills including confidence, decision making, teamwork and trust. Farr 52’s Chernikeeff 2 and Bear of Britain are generously loaned to the GBR Yacht Racing Academy by their respective owners Peter Harrison and Andrew Palmer, who see a great benefit in assisting the youth scheme.


GBR Yacht Racing Academy Manager Ben Willows, speaking from onboard Chernikeeff 2 said, “The crew are doing an amazing job in what are truly awful conditions. Their grit and determination is paying off and we expect to finish the race in a respectable position. I’d like to thank the yacht’s owner Peter Harrison for the loan of his yacht Chernikeeff 2, it is providing such a great opportunity for these aspiring young sailors and providing them experiences they will never forget.”