Wednesday, November 18, 2015

UK Sailing League Launches at Queen Mary Sailing Club

UK Sailing League in J/70s, J/80s and others (Heathrow, United Kingdom)- RYA British Keelboat Sailing is launching the first ever club keelboat fleet racing league in the United Kingdom at Queen Mary Sailing Club. Ten teams will take part in the UK Sailing League Trial Event that will be run in partnership by the Royal Thames Yacht Club (RTYC) and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).

The UK Sailing League Trial Event is a new club-oriented one-design sailing model that has been successfully run in Germany as the “Deutsche Segel-bundesliga” over a number of years and is running in thirteen European countries. The RTYC has bought into the concept and has partnered with the RYA to help launch the new enterprise. Sailing clubs have been invited from around the UK to compete at the trial event before the idea is rolled out nationally.

The event format is a round-robin schedule with teams racing each other a number of times before the team with the lowest number of points is crowned the winner. Six boats will compete in each 15-minute race with teams rotating boats throughout the weekend.  The RYA will assist in the running of the events of the UK Sailing League with the end goal being a greater participation in club keelboat racing around the country.

Nigel King, RYA Keelboat Manager said: “This new format of racing is really exciting for us and one we think will take off. The idea is to increase the numbers of sailors taking part in keelboat racing and help clubs build up a strong base of keelboat sailors. The RYA plans to work with all clubs that are keen to host events, helping them find and train race officials within their region as well as access to boats.”

As the host club, Queen Mary Sailing Club, is really looking forward to the event, explained Commodore Sophie Jezierski: “We are delighted that the RYA and RTYC have chosen to hold the first UK Sailing League Trial Event at Queen Mary SC, the home of RTYC’s fleet of matched one-design J/80s. As a trial event, QMSC is glad to help develop this series and support keelboat racing in the UK, so taking part is very important to us.  Of course the team will, like everyone, be sailing for victory, but we are also looking forward to enjoying some competitive racing and a friendly and sociable weekend both on the water and ashore.”

Other participating clubs chimed in.  "Royal Corinthian YC (RCYC) can already see how the concept would work,” said Justin Waples. “Certainly, we feel the RCYC at Burnham is well-suited to hosting an event both on and off the water.”

Ramsay Leuchars said, “Port Edgar YC in Scotland is hoping to make an impact on the water as well as learning about the new concept. We are most looking forward to seeing how this event could work elsewhere and the chance to compete against other sailors that we wouldn't normally be able to due to logistics and types of boat normally sailed.  On the water we have a chance to do well, as we do have a strong crew who have competed at national, international and Olympic level in various classes of yacht, keelboat and dinghies.”

The Queen Mary SC team is made up of some of their top Club and Open sailors: skipper James Baxter, Dave Freeman, Steven Fowles, James George from the Laser and RS400 fleets, and QMSC youth sailors Joseph Dormer and Federico Sirolla who are sharing the 5th crew slot, sailing one day each.

“How will we do?  Our Laser sailors triumphed in the 2014 and 2015 QMSC “Battle of the Fleets” sailing our J/80s- so they know their way around the bigger boats,” commented Commodore Jezierski. “However, the team has not sailed together as a whole, so it will be a bit of a learning curve and a good test of our communication and teamwork skills.  We are particularly pleased that our youth sailors are involved, too: QMSC has a thriving and vibrant youth group with committed volunteers and enthusiastic young sailors who have performed at the highest level over recent years.  This chance to crew in a larger team with some of our top sailors, competing against high quality opposition, is a great opportunity for our youth sailors and something we hope will be repeated, to encourage and enable greater youth participation in keelboat sailing at QMSC and other UK clubs!”   Sailing Photo Credit- SCL/YYCS/Francesco Nonnoi    For more UK Sailing League information