British Keelboat Academy enter Seven Stars Round Britain Race
Ahead of their longest offshore training event this weekend, the RORC Myth of Malham Race, the British Keelboat Academy (BKA) National Squad have announced their intention to enter the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race in August. The academy sailors will compete on the TP52, John Merricks II, with the full team set to be announced in early July.
The race, seen as one of keelboat racing’s toughest challenges, will start at Cowes on Monday 23rd August and with the likes of Mike Slade’s super maxi ICAP Leopard and the Slovenian and Austrian racing teams Volvo Ocean 70, E1, already having signed up, the event is shaping up to provide a fantastic opportunity for the sailors to get a real taste of top level international competition and the demands associated with it.
RYA Racing Manager and one of the BKA’s Directors, John Derbyshire comments; “The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland race is one of the biggest events on the keelboat racing calendar and I expect several top campaigns in the UK take part. The experiences and subsequent lessons learnt by the sailors selected to compete at the event will be invaluable to their future racing careers and with the BKA’s efforts centred around the motto it’s what you know not who you know, it’s these experiences that will really help the sailors make gains in their sailing and help them step up to the next level of competition”.
With just 13 places available on John Merricks II, competition to sail at the event will be tight and this weekend’s Myth of Malham race will present the first real opportunity for sailors to make their bids for selection.
Academy sailor Chris Noble comments: “We know pretty much who our core crew are likely to be at this stage as these guys have needed to already start their preparations for the event, but for the rest of the squad this weekend is going to be a real opportunity to show what they can do in the longest RORC offshore race in our training calendar. The race offers great scope for a range of conditions and points of sail so it’ll give everyone onboard a chance to shine across the race.
He continued: “The weekend will also be a good opportunity to test some new modifications we’ve made to John Merricks II over the last ten days against the TP52 Pace. It’ll be interesting to see how our boat speed fares against them, they are 50% pro 50% amateur and slightly more optimised than us but in an offshore capacity I think our boat is probably better set up - it’ll be a good test for us.”
The BKA aims to furnish it’s sailors with an array of skills and experiences helpful in building a successful keelboat racing career; and for the Round Britain and Ireland race it has provided the prospective team sailors with the key resources they need to put their campaign together however, the task of bringing the boat up to spec for the event, organising stores and spares and other logistical issues has been left to the sailors.
UKSA Operations Manager and fellow BKA Director Ben Willows comments: “We’ve made John Merricks II and all her current kit available to the sailors for the event but organising the extra boat modifications needed, upgrades desired and planning the logistics for the race; we have tasked the sailors with. This will give them an excellent opportunity to really get to grips with the intricate issues surrounding making a campaign happen and give them some great experience of boat work and planning along the way – with our guidance!”
The sailors need to raise extra funds to enable them to make all their plans happen for the race and putting into practice their fundraising skills – another key skill important in running a campaign – they have set up a fund raising website to rally more support of their campaign.
To find out more about the sailors campaign and pledge your support click here.
“Just getting to the start line for the round Britain and Ireland Race will be a massive achievement. It’ll be a culmination of a lot of people’s efforts in making it happen and a massive achievement for those people lucky enough to get a spot onboard. It’s actually really hard for youth sailors particularly in Britain to get sufficient offshore experience to put on their CV’s going into things like the Volvo or other offshores – so it’s a great opportunity for us,” Noble concluded.
BKA’s partners include B&G, Wild Graphics, Hamble Yacht Services, Harken, Henri Lloyd, North Sails, Ocean Safety, Premium Liferafts, TT Rigging and RORC.