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. The format is based on the best scores of two boat teams from each yacht club (one IRC boat and one J/80 team).
Poole Yacht Club's winning team the J/80 LAST CHANCE sailed by Chris Doe. Combined with her team-mate, their aggregate scores over three races was 13 pts. Their score was enough to hold off the RORC team that included Nick Haigh's JAI DEUX AMOUR with 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, 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. 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."
Editor's note- after reviewing the results, it does appear the best two boat team (IRC + J/80) in fact happens to be the Royal Southern YC's Adam Munday sailing his J/97 INDULJENCE, taking 2nd in IRC Class with 6 pts and his team-mate, the J/80 SEAFIRE sailed by Bruno Van Dyke, that won the J/80 one-design class with 5 pts, making for a combined total for both boats of 11 pts?? Were these two sailors and their Royal Southern YC team not the winners according to the format? One wonders.
In the end, the BKA Inter-Club Challenge Cup is a wonderful idea to promote youth sailing. Congratulations to Adam Munday's team (RSYC) on his J/97 INDULJENCE for their second place in IRC Class and to Alastair Speare-Coles team (BKA) on the J/109 ALICE for finishing 3rd in IRC. Thanks must also go out to David Aisher's J/109 YEOMAN (Royal Yacht Squadron) for participating in the event, too.
In the J/80s, congratulations Bruno Van Dyke's team (RSYC) sailing SEAFIRE to first overall. They were closely followed by Nick Haigh's JAI DEUX AMOURS team (RORC) in second and by Chris Doe's LAST CHANCE team (Poole YC) in third. For more Inter-Club Challenge Cup sailing information For more British Keelboat Academy sailing information