Over 200 junior sailors from around the UK will arrive at Rutland Water Sailing Club for their chance to race in a major national event by competing in the RYA Eric Twiname Championships.
Over the weekend of 8/9 May, junior sailors will represent one of the six English zones or Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, all vying to win the Eric Twiname Shield for best overall zone or home country as well as individual prizes.
Funded entirely by the Eric TWINAME Memorial Trust, the event provides many young sailors their first opportunity to race at a national level, helping them further their sailing skills and move higher in the RYA National Youth Programme.
Since its establishment in 1980, the trust has helped many different causes in sailing, and throughout the country there cannot be many young sailors for whom the trust has not provided assistance. During that time nearly £500,000 has been allocated to deserving causes including the provision of nearly 30 dinghies to deserving clubs and a range of RIB's for the RYA recognised youth class associations.
Additionally some 1,500 youngsters from financially disadvantaged families have benefited from bursaries to help them afloat and also individuals such as Ben AINSLIE have been supported in their bid for Olympic glory.
For the last nineteen years the championship has been entirely financed by the Eric TWINAME Trust who invite the six zones and home countries to put forward their junior sailors who, although do not currently compete at a national level, have the potential to move into a more competitive arena.
Thrilled to be supporting the event once again, trustee of the Eric Twiname Memorial Trust, John REED, said, "The Twiname Trust have been privileged to support youth racing for over 20 years and this is now the nineteenth ET Final. Many of today's big names in sailing had their first taste of competition in past ET Finals and perhaps many of today's competitors will be on a similar threshold."
From the seven classes that are sailing, three of which are windsurfers of different sail sizes, six races are scheduled. As well as a range of individual and team prizes up for grabs the south west zone will be hoping to defend the coveted Eric Twiname Shield as winners of the best placed zone last year.
Speaking before the championship, event director Duncan TRUSWELL said "Since December young sailors around the country have been training as members of the RYA Zone Squad's and also with the Optimist, Cadet, Mirror, Mistral or Topper class associations. Their skills will now be tested against peers of a similar standard and the experience that the children will gain from the RYA Eric Twiname Championship will be invaluable.