Poole Yacht Club comes out on top
A team of young sailors from Poole Yacht Club has won this weekend’s inaugural British Keelboat Academy Inter Club Challenge Cup.
The event was hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club on behalf of the British Keelboat Academy, and aimed to get more young sailors out racing on yachts to increase the engagement of sailors, clubs and boat owners in the opportunities which the BKA is able to offer to support the development of young sailors.
Poole Yacht Club’s winning team consisted of Jim Macgregor’s Elan 40 Flair IV and the J/80 Last Chance. The combined total scores of both boats in the three races held was 13 points, which was enough to hold off the challenge of the team from RORC – comprising Peter Morton’s Corby 33 Salvo and Nick Haigh’s Jai Deux Amour – on 18 points.
Some 80 young sailors took part in the event, all demonstrating great skill on the water to handle their boats in gusty conditions, with driving rain later in the day and the continuing unseasonably cold weather not making things any easier.
Many of the sailors were new to this size of boats and were using this event as part of making the transition into keelboat racing. On some boats, the sailors were supported by more experienced older sailors on board, whilst several boats had been entrusted to a complete crew under the age of 25 – great testament to the skill of these young sailors.
Jim Macgregor, from Poole Yacht Club, made his boat available to the winning team but did not himself sail on board for the event, instead entrusting it to the young crew led by skipper Tim Lees.
Macgregor summed up the event from their perspective: “It was the first time many of the Team had sailed a keelboat outside of Poole, so to visit the Solent and keep Teams from RORC, The Royal Yacht Squadron and The Royal Southern Yacht Club behind them was particularly satisfying and will have given their self-confidence a huge boost, further bolstering their enthusiasm to do more.
“The tough conditions encountered in getting the team boats from Poole to The Solent and back just added to the character building experience of the event. Bonding was further built by the youngsters being empowered to organise and run the campaign themselves, under the watchful eye of Chris Doe who, at 26, was by far the eldest of the 27 sailors (average age under 19). Suffice to say the rest of the club was right behind the Team with support whenever it was needed, including on the water back up from another Elan.”
Macgregor concluded: “There can be no doubt that Poole YC’s win and the networking experienced will have given them a whole new view on their future sailing plans and a will to apply for a position in the British Keelboat Academy.”
After sailing, all participants were able to hear from an experienced panel about the opportunities at the top level of yacht racing. Current BKA squad member James French, himself only 20, talked about the his experience skippering the British team at the recent Red Bull Youth America’s Cup trials and, particularly, the benefit of the experience and training he had received as part of the British Keelboat Academy.
Luke McCarthy, British Keelboat Academy Head Coach, commented: “It was great to see so many young sailors out on the water and all sailing their boats really well in some tough conditions.
“I am sure that many will go on to be really successful keelboat sailors, and we look forward to welcoming lots of them to the BKA in future. Thanks to all those involved with making this first event such a success.”
1st Poole Yacht Club 13 points
2nd Royal Ocean Racing Club 18 points
3rd Royal Southern Yacht Club 30 points
4th Royal Yacht Squadron 30 points
1st Flair IV Jim Macgregor 4 points
2nd Induljence Adam Munday 6 points
3rd Alice Alastair Speare Cole 9 points
1st Seafire Bruno van Dyke 5 points
2nd Jai Deux Amours Nick Haigh 7 points
3rd Last Chance Chris Doe 9 points