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British Keelboat Academy announces inaugural squad and plans for 2010

Following the launch of the RYA and UKSA’s new British Keelboat Academy (BKA) at the end of last year, the Academy’s managers joined a selection of newly signed up sailors at the Tullett Prebon London Boat Show today (Thursday, 14 January) to announce their plans for 2010 and reveal the inaugural squad.


Comprised of two levels, National and Development, the 40-strong BKA squad boasts some of the most promising new keelboat talent in the country, with sailors making the grade after a gruelling selection weekend in December.


Selected sailors encompassed the best all round mix of skills, required to take their keelboat sailing forward and perform on the international stage. Team work, performing under pressure, campaign management and sailing technique form the Academy’s main sailing focuses whilst the BKA also works on the personal development of each sailor, providing them with life skills which will enhance their futures, both in sailing and in all of their undertakings.


With sailors split between the two tiers, the National squad will focus on bigger boat racing making use of John Merricks II, kindly loaned by the John Merricks Sailing Trust. The Development Squad will place their efforts on smaller boat racing, using UKSA’s fleet of J80s.


BKA Head Coach and UKSA Racing Manager Luke McCarthy comments; “We were very impressed with the standard and quantity of applications received for the squad. Having already run our first training weekend it is evident that all our sailors are absolutely full of potential. We can’t wait to get stuck into 2010’s schedule of activities.”  


The first event for the newly-formed squad will be the RORC Easter Challenge in April, with both the Development and National squads competing in their respective boats. All the sailors are now training hard and working to ensure the boats are ready for the season ahead.


Following the Easter regatta, the Development Squad will be taking the J80s to compete in local regattas, followed by the Nationals and, funding permitting, the Europeans in Garda in June. Meanwhile, the National squad have their sights set on the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race (23-30 August), which would provide a great challenge to the crew.


McCarthy adds: “The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race is an ideal opportunity for the National squad to put their skills to the test and get a taste of competing at International level. It will be a massive test of both their sailing and also, more importantly, their ability to put together a campaign at this level,”


“We are already working on putting together a campaign for the event with our fantastic group of very generous financial and in-kind supporters. However, further funding is required and we are actively looking for additional funding to help us be successful.” he concluded.


The BKA’s partners include B&G, Grapefruit Graphics, Hamble Yacht Services Harken, Henri Lloyd, North Sails, Ocean Safety, Performance Rigging, Premium Liferafts and RORC. Full details of squad sailors are now on the BKA website at along with more information about the Academy and how you can help with fundraising.


BKA Squad Members


National                      Development

Jonathan Coad           Marina Brassington

Aaron Cooper             Michaela Boughton

Becky Scott                Lizzy Foreman

Callum Calder             Matthew Halsam

Chris Noble                 Catherine Jordan

Christopher Dorey      Mark Lees

Hamish MacDonald    Sam Matson

Peter Cowell               Kelvin Matthews

Rachel Scarfe             Tom Phipps

Richard Clay               Matt Reid

Sally Olsen                  Lizzie Shawcroft

Tom Smedley             Henry Smith

Phil Miller                    Katherine Whitley

Antonia Bull                 Toby Yeabsley

Guy Fillmore               Kirsty Matthews

Peter Knight                Tom Forrester-Coles

James Brown              Stephen Aiken

Linford Rees               Nicola Curwen

Oli Egan

Adam Lees

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