Sailing Stars of 2012 Set to Inspire at RYA Volvo Zone Championships

Great Britain’s Junior sailors will be seeing stars when some of the world’s top Olympic and Paralympic sailors pay a visit to the RYA Volvo Zone and Home Country Championships which are taking place concurrently next weekend (29-30 September) across nine different venues throughout the United Kingdom.

Members of the London 2012 British Sailing Team, including Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas, will be visiting eight venues across the course of the two-day regatta, to inspire the next generation of British sailors.

Over 1000 young competitors, aged between eight and 16, will be given the chance to quiz the sailors about how their sailing careers developed, from club level to their first regional event and how they progressed to ultimately compete at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  They will get the opportunity to compete under the watchful eyes of RYA High Performance Managers, key coaches and selectors as well as showcase their talents in front of the 10 Skandia Team GBR and Team Volvo sailors who will also be offering tips and advice whilst out on the water.

470 London 2012 silver medallist Hannah Mills will be visiting the South Zone (Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy) along with Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas who will join Mills on the Sunday after dropping in on the North Zone (Rutland Sailing Club) on the Saturday. The North Zone will then welcome Olympic windsurfing silver medallist Nick Dempsey on day two.

2012 Match Race girls Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor will visit  the South East Zone (Weir Wood Sailing Club, East Sussex) and the South West Zone (Chew Valley Sailing Club, Bristol) respectively.

Olympic silver medallist Stuart Bithell will be at the West Zone (Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club, Greater Manchester) while his 470 sailing partner Luke Patience will be making the trip back to his homeland to visit Largs Sailing Club in Scotland.

Visiting the East Zone (Alton Water Sailing Club, Suffolk) will be the Paralympic SKUD bronze medallist Alexandra Rickham, while the Welsh Championship will welcome her sailing partner Niki Birrell at New Quay Sailing Club, Ceredigion.

Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, said: “The RYA Volvo Zone and Home Country Championships are always a fantastic event and this year’s events will be extra special because thanks to the support of our long term sponsor, Volvo Car UK, the young sailors will be able to meet, get tips, advice and support and ultimately be inspired by their sailing heroes of 2012.

“To achieve in Olympic Sailing takes a long time and sailors need to have self-belief, commitment and be inspired to put in the years of hard work – I hope that meeting the Team Volvo Sailors of 2012 will give the young sailors both an insight and the inspiration to see what a great journey it can be, what a fun and powerful sport this is and give them a new determination to make the best of the fantastic opportunities we can offer.”

Truswell concluded: “There was a lot of talk about legacy and inspiring a generation this Summer, thanks to Volvo Car UK’s continued support and their enthusiasm, as well as that of the sailors of our Olympic and Paralympic team to support our Junior programmes, this weekend will really bring to life that aspiration for our young sailors.”  

The RYA Volvo Zone and Home Country Championships is a great first-time event for club level Junior class sailors, giving them the opportunity  and support to get a real feel of a Championship atmosphere relatively locally. It is a great stepping stone into regional and national racing and race training programmes and also a key event for any young sailor wishing to be selected for the RYA Zone and Home Country squads.

Racing takes place across the nine RYA recognised Junior dinghy and windsurfing classes including the Mirror, Optimist, Topper, RS Feva, Cadets and the windsurfers on the Bic Techno using the open 4.5, and 5.8 rigs, and the Techno 6.8s and Techno 7.8s – classes vary according to each venue.

Competitors are urged to submit their entries, together with the entry fee, online at www.ryaracingevents.org.uk before 23 September 2012.

Due to safety considerations and the size and complexity of the event, entries after this date cannot be accepted.

The 2012 RYA Volvo Zone and Home Countries Championships will be staged at the following venues:

The RYA Volvo South Zone Championships – Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, Dorset ·        

The RYA Volvo South West Zone Championships – Chew Valley Sailing Club, Bristol ·        

The RYA Volvo South East Zone Championships – Weir Wood Sailing Club, East Sussex

The RYA Volvo East Zone Championships– Alton Water Sailing Club, Suffolk ·        

The RYA Volvo West Zone Championships– Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club, Greater Manchester ·        

The RYA Volvo North Zone Championships – Rutland Sailing Club, Rutland ·        

Volvo Welsh Youth & Junior Championships – New Quay Sailing Club, Ceredigion ·        

RYA Scotland Volvo Youth and Junior Championships – Largs Sailing Club, Largs ·        

RYANI Volvo Youth Championships and NI Schools Cup In association with McCready Sailboats – Ballyholme Yacht Club, Co Down