Keelboat trials extended

As demand from young sailors for Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme is strong

Tuesday May 13th 2003, Author: Sacha Oswald, Location: United Kingdom
Due to the interest that has been shown in the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme, the trials to select the two young sailors who will sail aboard the Farr 52 'Volvo for life - Team Tonic' has been extended until the end of May.

It was planned the announcement would be made by the end of April. This date has now been extended in order to allow a greater selection of sailors to trial out on the boat and include some of the sailors that were selected at the second RYA keelboat training weekend, which formed part of the Volvo RYA Keelboat selection.

'Volvo for life - Team Tonic' recently won the Warsash Spring Series whilst conducting trials onboard the boat, winning five of the seven races. Future events the crew will compete in include: RORC offshore series, IRM Nationals, Admirals Cup, Rolex Fastnet Race, Round the Island Race and Skandia Life Cowes Week.

A further seven members of the Volvo RYA Keelboat programme were chosen out off sixteen hopefuls over the weekend of the 23-25 April. The sailors trialed out over three days of intensive training in the RYA's fleet of Beneteau First Class Eights, under the guidance of world-renowned coach Jim Saltonstall.

The sailors that have been selected to join the existing four members of the team that were chosen in February are; Katie Archer, Mike Ferguson, Ben Field, Nick Hutton, Ross Monson, Jo Ryley and Helen Brown.

Some of these sailors along with others who have been recommended to the programme will join the crew of 'Volvo For Life - Team Tonic' over the next few weekends. It is hoped that by the end of the month the crew of the boat will have had the chance to put the keelboat sailors through their paces both inshore and offshore and the best two will be chosen.

RYA Racing Services Manager David Atkinson commented, "The good thing about this new programme is that it is attracting a number of sailors of a good standard and I am pleased that we can extend the selection process for the two places on 'Volvo For Life - Team Tonic' in order to allow a few more sailors to try out. Those that are going to the training sessions are gaining knowledge just by attending and it is good that the RYA can now offer credible keelboat training."

By applying the proven Youth and Olympic training models, all sailors selected for the Volvo RYA Keelboat programme will also be provided training, coaching and be able to apply for grants to compete. It is hoped they will in turn be pivotal to future British keelboat projects.

"Only five months into the programme, we already have eleven members of the Team selected and industry partners in line to support it. The success and positive reaction within the industry has been beyond our original expectations. We are pleased that more young sailors will be given the opportunity to sail aboard Volvo for life - Team Tonic," said James Kendall, Sponsorship Manager, Volvo Car (UK) Ltd.

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