The weekends comprised of a range of activities to test not only the candidates’ sailing abilities, but also other personal skills such as the ability to work in teams and perform under pressure. Being able to compete at a high level and run successful keelboat racing campaigns is not only about sailing ability, so these other areas were a major part of what the selectors were looking for in order to choose suitable sailors for the BKA.
“The selection weekend was extremely tough and involved activities that were testing both mentally and physically. They tested how we worked as a team and what our attitudes were like which are crucial components for any BKA sailor. The fitness tests were by far the hardest part of the selection process,” said 17-year-old Nathan.
For each weekend, most of Saturday was spent afloat in UKSA’s fleet of J/80 and Colgate 26 keelboats, with sailors encouraged to try several roles on board to demonstrate their abilities and gain an understanding of what is required. Sailors were given input throughout the day and during debriefs after sailing from RYA-qualified coaches.
Nathan said: “Being part of the BKA is a great opportunity for me not only to get into competitive racing but also to become a better keelboat sailor and learn how to plan successful sailing campaigns. Everything I learn with the BKA will help me towards my ultimate goal of competing in the Volvo Ocean Race.”
He continued: "The biggest influence in my sailing to date is Tudur Owen. He is a graduate of this programme and is now competing in the World Match Racing Tour. It's brilliant to know that he came through this same programme and is now sailing professionally."
Luke McCarthy, British Keelboat Academy Head Coach, commented: “A lot of thought and time went into selecting the new squad members and after extensive consultation between the BKA coaches the decision was made to select 22 of the most promising, motivated and passionate young sailors to join the existing squad for next year’s season. We are already well into planning our activities for 2012, which again looks set to be an exciting one for the BKA and which will allow the young BKA sailors to take their keelboat sailing forward and perform on the international stage.”
Nathan will be sailing with a BKA crew on board one of UKSA’s J80s. They will be campaigning to compete in the J80 World Championships to be held in Dartmouth in June in the build up to the Olympics. The young sailors will be involved with an intense programme of training and preparation, including sessions on the water and ashore, and are also seeking sponsorship for their campaign.
For more information about the BKA and how you can help with fundraising or sponsorship, please visit www.britishkeelboatacademy.org, or follow the BKA on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/
Notes for Editors:
About the RYA
The RYA is recognised by all government offices as being the negotiating body for the activities it represents. It continually fights for the rights and freedoms of its 103,000 personal members, the majority of whom choose to go afloat for purely recreational non-competitive pleasure on coastal and inland waters. It represents a further estimated 500,000 boat owners nationally through its 1600 affiliated clubs and boat owner associations.
Olympic and Youth sailing is a beneficiary of the Lottery funded World Class Programmes (WCP) and administered by the Sports Councils. The Programmes focus on performance sport with the aim of achieving sporting excellence on the world stage.
Further information can be found at http://www.rya.org.uk
UKSA is the UK’s leading youth maritime charity, working to change lives through maritime education and personal development.
Based in Cowes, UKSA’s 3.5 acre on shore campus and fleet offers a comprehensive range of industry accredited yachting and watersports careers, programmes, leisure, training and multi activity watersports activities for schools and youth groups. UKSA has a strong alumni network in the global maritime industry including the world-renowned sailor Dee Caffari.
The charity celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2012. http://www.uksa.org
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The British Keelboat Academy supports young people aged between 18 and 24 in developing the skills needed to take their keelboat racing to a professional level.