The Royal London Yacht Club’s Etchells Youth Academy



The Royal London Yacht Club’s Etchells Youth Academy, based out of Cowes, has quickly become recognised as one of the leading keelboat programmes in the UK for talented young sailors. By granting teams between the ages of 18 and 29 the use of an Etchells for the duration of a racing year, the academy seeks to help youth sailors transition from junior dinghy classes into keelboats.

Past graduates have gone onto sailing in The Americas Cup, Round the World Race, Cape 31’s, high performance boats including J70s, and to win match racing championships and Etchells championships. The academy has a proven track record for producing excellent sailors.  Many youth sailors have also remained within the class, sailing for Etchells owners and running their own campaigns.

More recently, reciprocal arrangements with International Etchells fleets, most notably the American fleet has seen youth teams sent abroad to compete in major events, including the World Championships.

Since we first granted a boat in 2010 more than 750 sailors have been through the programme.

Before selection is made over a trials weekend, a series of four weekend training camps run by the Cowes fleet allow prospective teams to get used to the boat whilst enjoying World class coaching from current professional Etchells sailors.  Each training weekend includes a debrief/evening talk over dinner at the Royal London Yacht Club on the Saturday evening. This is compulsory for Academy sailors. The cost of the dinner is covered by the Academy fees. We do not provide accommodation.

The Academy welcomes sailors who have access to an Etchells with, or, without an owner to train alongside the youth class boats. We also encourage new or existing owners to join the training to learn about the boat or build on existing skills.

The programme prefers an application as a team and can consist of 3 or 4 sailors with a weight limit of 285kg. Some teams have a larger squad.

To apply, please nominate a team leader, who will then take responsibility for all communication between myself and the boats crew. Each team needs to submit a sailing CV for each team member. The cost for the training and trials is £2,000 per team and a damage deposit needs to be lodged before participation and either replaced or topped up as necessary.  

Training dates for 2024 are:

  • January 27/28th
  • February 10/11th
  • February 24/25th
  • March 2/3rd
  • April 6/7th (trials or training catch up if any previous weekend is lost)
  • April 13/14th (spare trials weekend and/or Spring training regatta for Class fleet)

After the trials weekend, successful teams will be offered the use of an Etchells for the 2024 Cowes racing season at a cost of £1000 per boat. This includes dry sailing fees, race entry fees etc… Again, a damage deposit will be required. We will grant a minimum of 4 boats.

Teams are expected to attend all events in the Etchells racing calendar for the entire season

The selected teams are also required to join the Royal London Yacht Club at a highly subsidised rate and will receive Academy branded clothing.

The closing date for all applications is November 1st 2023.

If you have any questions, please contact me on either 07808 400008 or [email protected]

I look forward to receiving your application!


David Bedford, Head Coach