RYA News Release – RYA Bursary Awards for aspiring young Felpham sailors

RYA Press Release, February 2020

Three young sailors from Felpham Sailing Club (FSC) have had a boost to their sailing and coaching ambitions thanks to performance and coaching bursaries from the RYA’s London and South East Youth Training Fund (LSEYTF)

LSEYTF is a charity associated with the RYA to support youth development.

The performance bursaries are awarded to promising young sailors who have demonstrated potential in events at regional, national or international level. Coaching bursaries fund applicants who have shown the capability and enthusiasm to support their fellow sailors to attend an RYA Race Coach Level 2 (RCL2) course. In return for the bursary sailors are expected to pass on their experiences and enthusiasm to help inspire others to follow in their footsteps

Jack Miller (18), now in his first year at university, has been awarded a Coaching Bursary. Jack, the current West Sussex Schools Champion, has sailed in RYA Zone, Transition and National Squads. He became an RYA Dinghy Instructor last summer and has been coaching at the FSC since, including running very successful dinghy squads during May & June 2019.

Roger Belton, Senior Instructor at FSC, said in nominating Jack: “Jack has been sailing at FSC since age 7 and his passion for racing has grown and grown. With the support of his parents he has participated in squad training in three dinghy types and has had great experience racing two handed dinghies at National & World level. He has been a role model at FSC with many youngsters aspiring to follow his example. He has become more interested in instruction and passing his knowledge and skills onto others. He is already qualified as a Dinghy Instructor; the RCL2 qualification will enable him to be an excellent Race Coach.

Jack said: “I am very grateful to receive the award and am looking forward to taking the race coach course so I can help other sailors have the same experience I was lucky enough to have.”

Josie Kelly (12) and Mia Gray (12), both from Middleton-on-Sea, received performance bursaries.

Josie started sailing in 2016 and racing in 2018. In 2019 she progressed from club to open and national events, finishing third overall and first girl in the RS Tera Southern Traveller Series, which won her selection for the RS Tera Class Association Tera Sport Squad then Tera Pro Squad for 2019-2020.

Roger says of her: ”In the last 12 months Josie’s sailing skill, racing skill, and determination to succeed have all made rapid leaps forward. She has transformed from a young, quiet club sailor enjoying a pootle, to a confident young lady who has raced at many venues across the South East. She is an excellent role model at the club and helps others in all sorts of ways. I look forward to seeing her make similar progress in 2020.”

Josie said of her award: “I was absolutely delighted when I found out I was gifted the bursary, someone had noticed my hard work over the past year. I am planning on putting some of the money towards a few competition entries next year and some towards a Laser 4.7 training sail so that I can progress further. I cannot thank the team behind this enough. I was over the moon and I am so excited to see the money put into action!”

Mia started sailing three years ago and quickly progressed into racing, taking thirds in the Tera class at both the West Sussex Schools Regatta and the RYA Regional Youth Championships in 2019. She has gained her RYA Assistant Dinghy Instructor qualification, and is FSC’s youngest ever Cadet Captain.

Roger says of Mia: “She has shown tremendous enthusiasm for sailing and racing in her short time with FSC. She listens and acts upon training and coaching advice, and always does it with a smile. As Cadet Captain she is very popular with her fellow Cadets and she helps to organise social events at the club.”

A delighted Mia said: “I was so happy to receive the bursary, and I am really looking forward to choosing some equipment for my Tera, hopefully at the RYA Dinghy Show. Thank you everyone at the RYA for the award, I was so lucky to have been chosen, and thank you to Roger, and everyone at FSC for always supporting me with my sailing.”

Dave Ellis, Chairman of the RYA’s LSEYTF adds: “It’s fantastic for young sailors to be able to experience a range of opportunities, both in the UK and internationally, during their development as they learn so much. But the costs of travel, accommodation, food etc. all quickly mount up and the bursaries provide some assistance to our young sailors as they develop their sailing careers”.

“We have an abundance of talent in the region and we want to give our young sailors, whether destined for ‘podiums’ or as coaches, the best chance to realise their ambitions.”

FSC is an RYA Training Centre, OnBoard Centre, and British Youth Sailing Recognised Club, and is a finalist for the RYA Club of the Year.

To discover how to get into sailing across London and the South East visit http://www.rya.org.uk/rya-regions/london-south-east/Pages/hub.aspx

Photograph: left to right Paul Miller (Paul received the award on behalf of his son Jack who is away at university), Mia Gray, Josie Kelly, Roger Belton (presenting certificates on behalf of YTF), and Guy Mayger (FSC Commodore).