2011 British Keelboat Academy squad members announced
Following a successful inaugural year, capped off with an impressive result in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race last summer, the British Keelboat Academy has announced its new squad line up for the 2011 season.
Split into two tiers, Development and National Squad, next year’s 41 strong academy boasts some of the most promising new keelboat talent in the country encompassing a range of new and existing squad members having made the grade after a gruelling selection weekend in September.
Selected sailors possessed the best all round mix of skills, required to take their keelboat sailing forward and perform on the international stage.
BKA Head Coach Luke McCarthy comments; “We’re really excited about 2011 as we’ve once again been able to select a really promising, talented and passionate group of young sailors for next year’s season. We were really impressed with the standard and quantity of applications received for the selections.
"It’s great to see familiar faces stay on and welcome some fantastic new sailors to the programme.”
Team development, campaign management and sailing technique will again form the BKA’s main focuses in 2011 whilst the Academy will also work on the personal development of each sailor, providing them with life skills which will enhance their futures, both in sailing and in all of their undertakings.
New recruit, 22-year-old Paul Harsent from Cheltenham who has only been sailing for five years, described the selection process: “I was very surprised to get through considering the calibre of the sailors there [the selections]. I found the actual sailing part quite challenging to be honest and I was quite intimidated by the other sailors as I knew that I was generally weaker.”
Seeking to identify potential talent, the selections process not only tested the sailing ability of the candidates, but also gave the sailors an all-round test of their skills.
Paul explained: “I just had to make sure I played to my strengths – we had a fitness and a night orienteering exercise which I was pretty strong at so I just had to shine in other areas to prove myself.”
With sailors split between the two tiers, the National squad will focus on bigger boat racing making use of the Farr 45 Kólga, kindly loaned by Rán Racing whilst the Development Squad will place their efforts on smaller boat racing, using UKSA’s fleet of J/80s.
Fellow new recruit Andy Wibroe, 22 from Sutton, will be sailing as part of the National Squad and is looking forward to getting involved with Rán Racing and other campaigns he’s already had access to through the Academy. He comments: “It’s a great opportunity being in the squad – in my personal sailing to date I’ve found it had to get onto a boat that has a high profile behind it so being selected for the National Squad straight away is really exciting for me. I’ll get to sail on Kólga straight away and the coaching we’ll have access to from the Rán Racing team as well as the academy coaches is going to be really great.
“My ten year goal is to turn professional before I’m thirty and the potential crewing opportunities available to us though the academy, outside of the core squad campaign, are going to be really useful. Already there’s been a couple of opportunities come up and I’ve put my name forward for the Key West Race Week in January - things like that are great routes into getting involved in more professional campaigns. It’s a great networking opportunity and without my keelboat academy involvement the doors wouldn’t’ be open.”
The BKA’s partners include B&G, Grapefruit Graphics, Hamble Yacht Services Harken, Henri Lloyd, North Sails, Ocean Safety, Performance Rigging, Premium Liferafts and RORC.
2011 squad members
|Ali Morrish||Aaron Cooper|
|Stephen Beckett||Adam Lees|
|Alex Gardner||Andy Wibroe|
|Joe Adams||Callum Calder|
|Robin Elsey||Cath Jordan|
|James French||Chris Noble|
|Ben Girling||Hamish Macdonald|
|James O'Mahony||Henry Smith|
|Jonty Cook||James Brown|
|Neil Payne||Jo Coad|
|Paul Harsent||Katherine Whitley|
|Suzanne Russell||Kelvin Matthews|
|Martin Macdonald||Kirsty Matthews|
|Tom Cheney||Lizzy Foreman|
|Charlotte Goodman-Simpson||Mark Lees|