South Zone bid to defend RYA Eric Twiname Championships crown

The South Zone had better watch out – the rest of the RYA Zones will be gunning for their crown when the battle for the 2008 RYA Eric Twiname Championships takes place at Rutland Sailing Club this weekend (10-11 May).

Always fiercely competitive the Championships, now in their 22nd year, are the pinnacle of the RYA’s Junior racing calendar for the RYA Zone and Home Country Squads.

The event brings together the cream of the top young talent representing each of the six English zones and three Home Countries who fight it out over two days for the prestige of picking up the coveted Eric Twiname Shield and being named top RYA Zone.

More than 340 sailors – all members of the RYA Zone/Home Country Squads invited to take part at the Championships by their Zone’s RYA High Performance Manager - in some 290 boats will compete in the Optimist, Topper, Mirror and Cadet classes while the windsurfers race on Bic Techno boards with 4.5m, 5.5m, 6.8m and 7.8m rigs.

The first part of the selection process for the Laser 4.7 National Junior Squad will also take place alongside the Championships, with results from Rutland being used in conjunction with those from a second indicator event at Chew Valley in a fortnight to determine the 12 sailors who will make up the 2008 Laser 4.7 NJS.

Last year the South Zone proudly walked off with the overall Shield, with the South’s sailors topping three of the four dinghy classes, while the West Zone took the windsurfing honours.

RYA Junior Racing Manager, Duncan Truswell said: “The RYA Eric Twiname Championships is always an event I look forward to, the standard of racing is always really high and is not only a real reflection of the quality of Junior sailors we have right across the UK but is also testament to the hard work the sailors and coaches from all the Zones have put in over the winter.

“Almost all the top Olympic sailors of our generation have found their feet at the Championships although Olympic dreams will be the last thing on the sailors’ minds when they are trying to outdo each other at Rutland!"

Thanks to the long-standing and ongoing support of the Eric Twiname Memorial Trust, the event is free to enter with all costs associated with the running of the regatta met by the RYA and the Trust. This is the sixth consecutive year that Rutland has staged the event.

Meanwhile, as many as five of Britain’s most promising young sailors will be handed a major boost in their fledgling careers when the latest recruits to the Musto Academy are also announced at Sunday’s prize-giving ceremony.

The Musto Academy Programme was launched in 2007 to recognise and support emerging talent in the RYA Youth and Junior programmes.

Under the banner of ‘Achievement through Adventure’, the initiative provides backing to between three and five sailors from both the Youth and Junior programmes each year through the provision of a range of technical and casual sailing clothing.

Following the selection of the three 2008 Youth recruits at the recent RYA Youth National Championships, the Eric Twiname Championships provides the perfect platform for the Junior hopefuls’ talents.

Of last year’s Junior Academy sailors, James Grant won the Laser Radial title at the Youth Nationals last month while Andy Brown finished 10th in the same class. Katrina Brewer unfortunately had to withdraw from the Championships through injury.

For full details about the 2008 RYA Eric Twiname Championships visit the RYA Racing Events website (