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Race an Etchells free for a year

Superb opportunity offered by the UK Etchells Class and RYA Racing

Wednesday March 7th 2012, Author: Matt Carter, Location: United Kingdom

Sailors who aspire to race one design keelboats at the highest level have only three days left to apply for a number of fully race-prepared Etchells, completely free of charge for the 2012 racing season, thanks to an initiative and partnership between the UK Etchells Class and RYA Racing. The closing date for applications is this Friday, 9 March, and the RYA is urging interested sailors to get their applications in fast to avoid disappointment.

The Etchells is a strict 30 foot one design keelboat which, outside of the Olympics, has some of the most competitive racing in the world and winning the Etchells World Championships is regarded as one of the hardest titles to win in sailing. Past World Champions include America's Cup winners Dennis Conner and John Bertrand, Stuart Childerley has won the title twice and Britain’s triple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie has competed at the event as crew.

To support the sailors’ progression and development, Race Training and Coaching will be provided by the UK Class Association with David Bedford and other top sailors supporting the teams with coaching and tips both on board the boats and from RIBs. Training and coaching weekends with video debriefs are scheduled to assist selected teams to learn the ropes as quickly and effectively as possible.

Thanks to the generosity and support of volunteers within the UK Etchells Class Association up to two selected teams will benefit from the use of their own boat for the season with a full programme of well organised and competitive racing, with entry fees, boatyard costs and a small maintenance budget all covered by the Class. Some assistance towards accommodation will also be provided.

This opportunity is designed to give talented young sailors the experience of top level one design keelboat racing, giving them the resources and training to push their sailing to the highest level. The opportunity is available for 18-24 year olds, and is particularly aimed at British Keelboat Academy members and graduates of the RYA Volvo Youth Programme, although applications from other sailors are welcomed. All racing will be in the Solent based from Cowes and subsidised accommodation will be provided either at UKSA or at owners’ homes on the island.

Applications will be accepted from individuals and teams of three or four sailors (the class maximum weight limit is 285 Kg so competitive teams will need to be as close as possible to that). For 2012 two teams will be offered the use of fully funded race prepared boats in the Solent for the whole of the 2012 season leading up to the British Nationals in September.

Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Racing Manager, commented: “This initiative is an excellent opportunity to try your hand at one design keelboat racing in a boat which is a classic design and amongst the most competitive keelboat fleets in the world.

“It will enable young sailors to learn the skills and components of keelboat racing, as well as all the nuances of racing in the Solent which is both challenging and rewarding in equal measure. The class is planning to provide the lucky recipients with both a supportive and competitive environment, we hope to see many young sailors competing for a chance to join this exciting class.”

To apply please send a sailing CV and a brief covering email outlining why you should be given this opportunity. This should be sent to Luke McCarthy, British Keelboat Academy Head Coach at luke@britishkeelboatacademy.org to be considered by a panel from the RYA and Etchells class.

Successful applicants will be notified by Friday 16 March whether they have been chosen to attend a selection and training weekend in Cowes on 14-15 April. Final allocation of places for this scheme will be made following this event by the selection panel.

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