If you’re keen to learn how to race and want to progress further the RYA pathway provides a huge wealth of support for young sailors. In Wales the first step is the regional squad for each junior class (Optimist, Topper and so on) which you can apply for each year. This is the first step before moving on to Welsh Zone squads, GBR squads and for some, the Olympic pathway.
Quite a number of our young club members apply and get into squads each year. Being in a squad provides a training programme for sailors over the winter where a qualified RYA Race Coach will teach racing techniques, boat preparation, physical fitness, and much more. In addition to that, when sailors then go to racing events the Coach is there to provide briefings and support on the water which is so valuable to sailors. The squads also provide sailors with new friendships, squad clothing, and a sense of pride.
Being in a squad provides a training programme for sailors over the winter where a qualified RYA Racing Coach will teach.
How do I apply?
Applications need to be done during the summer – normally the application period is from mid-August to mid-September (check on the RYA Cymru Wales web pages for exact dates and please beware of deadlines!).
Am I good enough?
The Welsh Zone differs from the other Zones in the UK in that it offers a ‘Regional’ squad designed to give that first step up into proper racing. The aim is FUN… Sailors will develop practical sailing skills, self-awarenss, goal setting and racing skills. Applicants will need to have a basic understanding of sailing and be able to sail competently around a conventional course in most conditions. There is a selection policy that outlines more but our advice would be that if in doubt then apply – and please ask at the club if you’d like more information.
How do I qualify?
The selection policy is updated each year and more details can be found there. Coaches will benefit from having some race results to look at so if you’ve been to CYRC (Club Youth Racing Circuit) events or other racing events in Wales then you’ll need to record those on your entry form – but if you haven’t, don’t worry. Fill in as much information as you can. Each autumn the Welsh Zone Championships take place and are usually the last event before squad selections are made so if you can, it’s worth going to that event. Your application has usually been submitted by then and coaches all attend so it’s a chance for you all to get to know each other.
Will I need my own boat?
Yes – it’s advisable to have your own boat so that you get used to it, tune and improve it, take pride in it… You will soon start going to racing events and it’s a great occasion racing your own boat with friends and having your coach there to help you.