Volvo has extended its three year contract with the RYA Keelboat Programme

Due to the success of the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme in its first year, Volvo has renewed its sponsorship of the programme for a further three years, and increased the available funding.

The programme was set up to provide the opportunity for talented young sailors to break into the world of keelboat sailing. In year one, 21 sailors aged between 16-24 have received specialised keelboat training, coaching, mentoring and grants. These sailors have also been placed on viable keelboat campaigns via the Volvo RYA Crewsearch programme. Much needed hands on experience has been gained by the programme sailors competing in events such as 1720 National and European Championships, Six Metre Worlds, Farr 40 Worlds, Skandia Cowes Week, Rolex Fastnet Race and the Admiral’s Cup.

With the extension of the contract and additional funding for the programme there will be more selection and training weekends across the UK, and the appointment of two programme managers, one in the south and one in the north, to work alongside Dave Atkinson will help expand the scheme.

The key objectives of the programme for the next three years are to create a team of sailors which contains the very best UK talent, provides respected and credible training for keelboat sailors, provides opportunities for young people and is a reliable source for boat owners to find the best new talent.

It is hoped that, as the scheme of choice for aspiring keelboat sailors, boat owners will come to the programme in the first instance to seek out potential crew for their campaigns which will include Admiral’s Cup, Timberland Europrix, Commodores’ Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race.

RYA Racing Services Manager David Atkinson commented, “It is great to see Volvo continuing their support and it means that we can now expand the keelboat programme to the rest of the country and support all areas of keelboat sailing.”

John Lefley, Volvo Car UK’s Director of PR and Events said, “When we launched the keelboat programme we felt that it had the potential to meet the needs of young, talented sailors. Our experience has given us the confidence to develop and expand the programme in 2004.”

To find out more about the programme, check out the RYA website or contact David Atkinson, RYA Racing Services Manager on 023 8060 4166 or e-mail