Return of the Keelboat Academy

A new union announced between the RYA and the UKSA

Thursday October 29th 2009, Author: Ellie Williamson, Location: United Kingdom
The future looks bright for Britain’s up and coming young keelboat sailors, with the RYA and UKSA today announcing their new ‘British Keelboat Academy’.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has joined forces with leading maritime training provider, UKSA to create the British Keelboat Academy. Developed for young people aged 18-24, the programme has been designed to prepare sailors for keelboat racing at the highest level, training up and coming sailors to compete in events including the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race.

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.

Ben Willows, Director of Operations at UKSA, said: “We are delighted to be joining forces with the RYA to create the British Keelboat Academy. 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. We’re really pleased to be moving this into a new era and working with UKSA on this joint approach is exciting.

“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.

“We plan to develop and extend the network of sponsors and partners, many of whom have supported us throughout this year, as we seek to add more value to the Programme” he concluded.

Applications to the British Keelboat Academy National Squad are now being invited – interested parties should apply for consideration via their website by 20th November.

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.

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