The 2021 Regional Junior Championships has been hailed an overriding success after more than 1,200 youngsters took to the water over two weekends of racing.
Intended to be festival of racing, the Regional Junior Championships consisted of 11 regattas across the country catering for young sailors of all abilities from those just starting out to seasoned racers.
The emphasis of the annual event is to promote fun, high quality regional racing – and youngsters got just that at clubs right the way from Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) to Derwent Reservoir in the Lake District and as far north as Loch Tummel in Scotland.
The festivities kicked off on September 17 and 18 with three regattas for junior windsurfers, held at WPNSA, Datchet Water Sailing Club and Glossop Sailing Club.
A week later, dinghy racers headed to events at WPNSA, Grafham Water Sailing Club, Queen Mary Sailing Club, Carsington Sailing Club and Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club.
Plas Heli hosted the Welsh Regional Junior Championships over the second weekend, while Northern Ireland’s Carrickfergus Sailing Club hosted its regatta over September 12 and 13.
The Regional Junior Championships featured three fleets: the Championship Fleet for more experienced racers, the Coached Regatta Fleet for those wanting to get their first taste of racing, and the OnBoard Fun Fleet for children who are new to racing.
Fresh from Tokyo 2020, Team GB athletes Saskia Tidey, Alison Young, Tom Squires and Emma Wilson made guest appearances to inspire the young sailors as well as take on prize-giving duties.
Chris Atherton, National Performance Manager for the RYA, said: “The Regional Junior Championships are all about having fun in a racing environment, and this year there was no shortage of that.
“To see such a huge number of young people attending the Championships over these past two weekends has been absolutely brilliant. It really goes to show the appetite for regional racing, and also how much our young racers have missed racing during what’s been a really challenging 18 months.
“Thank you to everyone who made running these events possible, from the great host venues to our army of wonderful volunteers, from race officials to the competitors themselves. We couldn’t have done it without you, and we can’t wait to see you all again next year.”
In a change from its usual end-of-summer schedule, the Regional Junior Championships will be moving to early summer as of 2022. This decision will hopefully result in better weather for competitors, and longer evenings for social activities once racing has finished.
Results from all of the Regional Junior Championships events can be found here
General information about the Regional Junior Championships is here