The British Keelboat League (BKL) is urging teams to get their entries in for 2022 following the launch of a new format designed to make the series bigger and better than ever.
In an exciting innovation for this year’s BKL, there will be an invitational Premiership for club teams plus a Championship for all-comers wanting to take part in the pay-and-play series.
Visiting stunning locations across the country, a fleet of ready-to-go keelboats at each event will make it easy for sailors to simply #RockUpAndRace and teams will be able to compete with either four or five crew on board. Entry for all events is now open at British Keelboat League and clubs wanting to enter the Premiership need to register their interest by 1st April.
Richard Moxey, RYA Keelboat Development Manager, said: “We are really looking forward to this year’s BKL which promises all the thrill of previous years for clubs alongside a fantastic opportunity to widen participation so that even more people can enjoy keelboat racing.”
12 clubs will be invited to compete in the prestigious new Premiership division. Points will be accumulated across three events with no discard and the overall winners will be invited to compete in next year’s Sailing Champions League in Europe.
Clubs do not need to have the same team members on board at all three events so crew can alternate to suit individual availability for the series, which will take place as follows:
28 – 29 May: Carsington Sailing Club, Derbyshire
13 – 14 August: Queen Mary Sailing Club, London
30 September – 2 October: BKL final, Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hampshire
Among the clubs invited to take part in the BKL Premiership 2022 is Marconi SC in Essex, which won the BKL’s Cardiff qualifier in 2021 and finished an impressive fifth overall in the final.
Peter Ward from the club said: “Our members were fixed to their devices as each result came in. It was like the whole club were invested in the success our young sailors were achieving in the BKL. We’ve participated in the BKL since 2016 and it has provided a focus for our club as we’ve introduced our young sailors to keelboat racing. To be selected to represent our club, in what is the highest level of inter-club competition, is seen as a real achievement by our sailors.”
Clubs are invited to register their interest for an invitation to participate in the BKL Premiership by emailing email@example.com before the deadline of 1 April 2022.
New for 2022, the BKL Championship series is open to any team and while some may want to represent their sailing club, entries are also open to classes, schools, youth organisations and universities. Others may want to represent their home town or get together with friends and family – all you need to enter is a team name!
By widening entry beyond clubs for 2022, the BKL aims to be more inclusive and as in previous years there will be a warm welcome for both experienced keelboat sailors and those wanting to try this aspect of the sport for the first time, with support for participants at each event.
The BKL Championship will include the ever-popular Youth and Women’s fixtures plus an RYA Sailability championship, with the top two teams from each event qualifying for the BKL final. The BKL Championship series comprises:
21 – 22 May: Ullswater Yacht Club, Lake District, RS21s
11 – 12 June: Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-on-Crouch, 707s
18 – 19 June: Hayling Island Sailing Club, Hampshire, RS21s
2 – 3 July: BKL Youth Championship at Queen Mary SC, London, RS21s
16 – 17 July: BKL Women’s Championship, Royal Southern YC, Hampshire, RS21s
10 – 11 September: Cardiff Bay Yacht Club, Wales, RS21s
17 – 18 September: BKL Sailability Championship, Cardiff Bay YC, RS21s
30 September – 2 October: Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hampshire, BKL FINAL
Tom Low, whose team from West Hoe SC in Devon plan to enter this year’s event at Hayling Island SC, says: “The BKL is arguably the most fun style of racing available to sailors in the UK because it encompasses the best of all types of sailing, concentrated into one weekend. You get to sail with your mates, against your mates, in fast, light, responsive and powerful sport keelboats. You get to compete in 16 races over a weekend, with each race lasting 15-18 minutes, so lots of starting practice, boat handing, intense close-quarters boat-on-boat tactics, on a high energy short course, and when the breeze is up, the adrenalin is up! And you don’t even have to own a boat – you just rock up, rig up … and go!”
The West Hoe SC team has competed in the BKL almost every year since its launch in 2016 and last year qualified for the Sailing Champions League, competing at Kiel in Germany, which Tom describes as an “absolutely brilliant” experience, adding: “They were incredibly supportive and helpful and there were 32 teams of so many nationalities, we were racing against every European country you can think of and it was almost like a mini Olympics. It was really fun.”
Jack Fenwick, British Keelboat League Series Director, urges clubs and other teams to get their entries in as soon as possible: “For the BKL Premiership, applications need to be in by 1 April and I would urge clubs to seize the chance to race not only each other for bragging rights but also potentially compete internationally. The Sailing Champions League is a very big deal and by taking part in the BKL Premiership, your club could win a ticket to join the top clubs from all over Europe who will be taking part in the 2023 edition.
“With the Championship series meanwhile BKL entry has now been opened up beyond clubs for the first time, so you can sail with your mates or your family and put together your own team of weekend warriors! The entry deadlines for each event in the Championship series are on the BKL website so take a look and get your team entered – it’s going to be great fun and a real opportunity for more people to get involved.”