On the weekend of the 13th and 14th April, the Cowes Etchells fleet competed in the Royal Thames Yacht Club’s Southern Area Championships, an excellently run and closely fought over regatta. The race committee perfectly took advantage of the conditions, with an average wind range of 17-24 knots, getting in 3 intense windward leeward courses per day.

Of the 11 boats in the fleet, 3 were youth teams following on from the 2019 Royal London Yacht Club’s Etchells Youth Academy trials. William Bedford’s Royal London team, having won a race, were the first youth team, followed by Robby Boyd’s Royal Lymington team and Ollie Grogono’s Royal Thames team. A further 4 Etchells were crewed by sailors that have previously been involved in the youth programme. Indeed of the 38 competitors on the water, 27 were from our youth academy either sailing a youth boat or crewing for owners. Only one boat had no youths.

With the competition for the event title going down to the very last day, congratulations go out to the winner, Hamish Calder in Exabyte, and runner up David Franks in Strait Dealer. Meanwhile, Charlie Manzoni performed excellently in Ice, emerging first Corinthian. Perhaps the greatest performance, however, was that of the Greig City academy and their sailing without an onboard coach.

Next up is the Royal London Yacht Club’s Spring series regatta on the 27 and 28th April, where two more youth boats - representing the Royal Dart and Oxford University - will be joining the action.