Volvo RYA Yacht Programme Selections.

The Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme has announced selections for 2008-2009 with more than 40 of Great Britain’s big boat sailors included.

A series of nationwide Open Keelboat Training events over the year, had provided a total of 46 sailors for the three highly-competitive Programme squads – National, Northern and Southern.

With the Programme acquiring the TP52 John Merricks II at the start of the last season, fitness and physicality have been increasingly important considerations in this year’s selection process.

David Atkinson, RYA Racing Services Manager said:

“We are very pleased with the standard of sailors we have not only acquired for the forthcoming season but also the sailors we have retained. As we had hoped it would, having the TP52 has already begun to take the Programme to the next level and all the sailors are increasingly appreciating what it takes to race her competitively.

The Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme was launched five years ago to give young sailors aged between 16 and 24 the chance to establish themselves in the world of keelboats whether Junior dinghy champions or experienced yachtspeople.

No fewer than five sailors in the 2007-08 Programme set-up are currently involved in the Volvo Ocean Race – National Squad sailors Scott Millar and Henry Foster are joined by VKBP mentor and former squad member David Carr as part of the Green Dragon team’s campaign while fellow mentors and former VKBP sailors Ed Hill and Scott Gray are also working with Delta Lloyd and Team Russia respectively.

Meanwhile, also in 2008, Nick Cherry (National) and Rachel Howe (mentor) sailed on Hugo Boss II in the iconic Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race, Cherry later acting as a training partner for the Olympic gold medal-winning Yngling trio of Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson in their preparations for Beijing, while Tudur Owen (National) has established himself on the prestigious World Match Racing Tour as part of the Mirsky Racing Team.