Chris talked initially about his involvement with the BKA, which included campaigns for the Fastnet Race and gruelling non-stop Round Britain and Ireland Race. He said that key lessons from these were the importance of a well prepared boat and crew, but also how it subsequently gave him a solid foundation to develop a career within the sport. Key factors in this were not only the technical skills, but also contacts made and more importantly, being seen and respected by more experienced people from within the industry.
Through his involvement with the BKA, Chris gained a place as shore crew for Team Aqua and as a result of his efforts there has also worked on TP52 campaigns as well as stints with America’s Cup teams over the past few years. The main message from Chris was that he would not be in the position he is now without the hard work he put into BKA campaigns alongside the opportunities he was given.
Chris was pleased to be able to announce that Team Aqua would like to offer the opportunity for members of the BKA to get involved with their campaign. The role is to primarily work alongside the shore team, drive the coach boat but also have the opportunity to sail on the boat during training sessions. With a total of five places available throughout 2012, applications flooded in from squad members eager to grab the spot available at each of the team’s regattas.
Team Aqua Program Manager Cameron Appleton said: “We feel it is important to share what we do and help give platforms for young sailors to learn from leading yachting campaigns. It is fantastic that we are able to get members of the British Keelboat Academy involved, as it's important to support the growth of this sport and the programs that give young sailors the skills needed in for competitive racing.”
For the first 2012 RC44 Championship Tour regatta in Spain in February, Team Aqua has selected Neil Payne, 20, a student at Portsmouth University, to be the first squad member to support the team. Neil has been training with the BKA since 2010 and is currently sailing on Farr 45 Kolgá, which has been lent to the Academy by Rán Racing.
Neil said: “Chris has proved that the RC44 circuit is the perfect stepping stone into other professional circuits and I hope this opportunity with Team Aqua will be as useful for my sailing career. I'm excited to get out there and get stuck in with preparations for the first regatta of the season.”
To keep up to date with how Neil and other squad members find their experience with Team Aqua, visit the BKA’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/
Notes to Editor
Contact: Jessica Padley, jessica.padley@
Photo Credit: Nico Martinez
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
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 on the UK Sport website at http://www.uksport.gov.uk and Sport England's website at http://www.sportengland.org
Further information can be found at http://www.rya.org.uk
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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.