Volvo youths to earn places on Farr 52

New partnership with Team Tonic's Nick Hewson for up and coming keelboaters

Wednesday March 5th 2003, Author: Jo Grindley, Location: United Kingdom
Volvo Car (UK) Ltd and Farr 52 owner, Nick Hewson have formed an exciting new partnership for 2003. It will give two young sailors from the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme the opportunity of a lifetime to compete aboard the Farr 52, to be renamed 'Volvo for life - Team Tonic', for the 2003 season.

Key events in which the sailors will compete include; Admirals Cup, Rolex Fastnet Race, Round the Island Race and Skandia Life Cowes Week.

Sailors selected for the Volvo RYA Keelboat programme will be given the chance to try out for their place aboard 'Volvo for life - Team Tonic' during the Warsash Spring Series starting on Sunday 16th March. Each Sunday of the seven-week series, Nick Hewson along with crewmembers Jeremy Robinson, Craig Nutter and Simon Clarke and RYA Racing Services Manager, Dave Atkinson, will assess the qualities of all of the Volvo RYA Keelboat sailors.

By the end of April two young sailors from the programme will be picked to race aboard 'Volvo for life - Team Tonic' for the 2003 season. Once chosen they will have to commit to the year round programme, which will include a series of RORC offshore races to gain their personal qualifying miles for the Rolex Fastnet Race.

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

"We're delighted to have formed a partnership with Nick & Team Tonic for the forthcoming season. It provides a great opportunity to promote the Volvo RYA Keelboat programme to a diverse audience and also enable a number of selected sailors to develop their sailing skills whilst working alongside an outstanding crew. We also hope that it will encourage more and more young sailors to join the Keelboat programme in the future," said James Kendall, Sports Marketing Manager, Volvo Car (UK) Ltd.

Team Tonic has an impressive racing record to date, some key victories in 2002 include: Skandia Life Cowes Week, Britannia Cup, Warsash Spring Series, Morgan Cup, Cervantes Cup as well as being awarded the RORC Assuage Trophy for best offshore record for the year.

'Team Volvo for life' members and Volvo Ocean Race skippers, Neal and Lisa McDonald will join the crew of 'Volvo for life - Team Tonic' for Skandia Life Cowes Week. Other members of 'Team Volvo for life' will be on hand between their Olympic sailing commitments to provide support and coaching to the team.

Sailors between the ages of 16-24 can be selected for the Volvo RYA Keelboat Team from a number of avenues:

· New RYA keelboat weekends, to be run around the UK
· Recommendations to RYA by other organisations, talent scouts and High Performance Managers.
· The National and Youth Match Racing Circuit

The first Volvo RYA Keelboat selection took place at Rutland Water Sailing Club in the RYA's fleet of Beneteau First Class Eight's. Seventeen sailors attended the three-day training event and trialed out under the watchful eye of world-renowned coach Jim Saltonstall. It was immediately apparent that the programme had attracted a high calibre of sailors and therefore the decision of who would be selected was a tricky one. After three long days, which incorporated classroom teaching with on the water drills and racing, the following members were invited to join the Volvo RYA Keelboat Team - Ed Hill, Nick Gibbons, Jonathan Blackburn and Alex Taylor. The next Volvo RYA Team Selection will take place during RYA Keelboat Training at Rutland Water Sailing Club from 23-25 April.

"The inclusion of places aboard 'Volvo for life - Team Tonic' adds a new dimension to the Volvo RYA Keelboat programme and shows the commitment towards the programme and its future goals." Commented RYA Racing Services Manager David Atkinson who went on to say, "the first training days have shown the high standard of sailors wishing to further their skills into the new arena of keelboat sailing which is good for the sport and the programme."

The Volvo RYA Keelboat programme has in its short life attracted a huge amount of support from within the sailing industry. Partners to the programme will be announced shortly.

For further information on how to get involved with the programme or to download an application form, log onto the RYA website at

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