British Keelboat Academy opens doors for next intake

Applications are now open for the British Keelboat Academy’s next intake of young sailors.

The British Keelboat Academy supports sailors aged between 18 and 24 to develop the skills they need to race keelboats at a national level. No previous keelboat experience is necessary and applications for the BKA’s 2021/22 cohort are welcome from young racing sailors across the sport.

The programme includes training, racing, boat maintenance and personal preparation, providing valuable skills for dinghy sailors wanting to transition to keelboats as well as for those who may already taking part in keelboat racing. Previous alumni have gone on to hold top positions in some of the world’s biggest events such as the America’s Cup, The Ocean Race, TP52 Super Series, Class 40 and Figaro.

“We are really pleased to announce that applications are now open for the 2021/22 British Keelboat Academy,” said Jack Fenwick, RYA Keelboat Development Manager.

“BKA sailors receive coaching from a multitude of different experts and gain essential experience and knowledge for the world of keelboat racing. The academy is a popular and proven environment for those wanting to make the jump into keelboat racing or take their skills to the next level. We are looking forward to welcoming the next generation!”

BKA sailors are encouraged to develop their expertise and also compete across a wide range of keelboat racing. Sailors from the 2020-21 intake have so far this year taken part in match racing, the British Keelboat League, the Round the Island Race, Cowes Week and the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s offshore series, including the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Haydn Sewell, aged 19, said: “Being a part of the British Keelboat Academy has broadened not only my skill set but also my love for the sport. The opportunities to learn new skills and meet multiple people with similar ambitions creates an exciting and productive environment. I spent most of my youth sailing dinghies such as Optimists and 420s but now, thanks to the keelboat academy, I am exploring the world of match racing – an exciting new venture.”

Amy Hinsliff-Smith, aged 21, of Notts County SC, added: “The BKA has provided me with fantastic networking links within the sailing world, allowing me to expand into keelboating from a Midlands-based dinghy sailor background. The BKA videos and workshops that were run throughout lockdown also helped with building on my knowledge and passion for the sport. I am looking forward to continuing my progression and would highly recommend the BKA to any sailors who are ready for a new challenge.”

Those applying for the British Keelboat Academy must be available, if invited, to attend a selection weekend at Port Solent, 13/14th November. Those demonstrating a strong desire to learn coupled with a strong work ethic and the ability to work well within a team will be among a group of around 60 sailors who will make up the 2021/2 British Keelboat Academy.

Subsequent training weekends will include: Online Theory, 18/19 December; Spinnaker Handling, London, 29/30 January; Inshore Yacht Training, Solent, 5/6 March; J/70 Training, Cowes, 9/10 April. A separate offshore training module will also be available.

The cost of the selection weekend will be £85 and the BKA squad fee is £315. Applicants should be aged between 18 and 24 years on 13/11/2021 although exceptions can be made on a case by case basis.

Further information is available at and applications can be made here. The deadline for applying is 26 September 2021 at 23.59.

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