Weymouth will play host to the Volvo RYA Youth Championships and Trials at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy over the Easter weekend (1-5 April).

Over 300 competitors are expected to compete in the event, all hoping to gain a place in the much-coveted Volvo RYA Youth Sailing Programme and the chance to represent Great Britain at the 2002 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships in Canada this July.

On hand to watch the racing and meet some of the youth sailors and organisers of the event will be HRH The Princess Royal, President of the Royal Yachting Association and a keen sailor herself.

Just back from New Zealand members of Britain’s America’s Cup Team, GBR Challenge, will be in Weymouth on Wednesday 3 April to watch the racing and give feedback to the young sailors and a talk on Britain’s bid for the America’s Cup.

The RYA Race Training Committee have appointed a top panel of selectors which include talented sailors, such as Paul Goodison, Tim Robinson and David Campbell-James, with Jeremy Vines as the Chairman of the selectors. As well as selecting the coveted Volvo RYA National Youth Squad, which provides all the skills and training sailors need to develop to succeed on the international stage, they will also select Great Britain’s representatives for the 2002 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships in Lunenburg, Canada, this July, the most significant youth regatta in the international sailing calendar.

The past list of winners from this event represents the very best of international skippers and crews including Ben Ainslie, Andy Beadsworth, Chris Dickson and Robert Schiedt to name but a few.

Racing will take place in the Laser Radials (boys and girls), Laser Standard (boys), 29ers (all boy or all girls), 420s (all boys or all girls) and Hobie 16s (boys). The event is open to any sailor who is under 19 (under 21 for Hobie 16) on 31 December 2002 and who holds or is entitled to hold a British passport.

Approximately 100 young sailors will be selected at the event to form the 2002 Volvo RYA Youth Squad. Selection will give sailors access to an elite support programme that includes professional coaching from world class sailors, training and international competition grants and a full sports science programme. As well as selecting the Worlds and youth squad, travel grants will also be awarded for overseas’ competition in 2002 and also, if deserved, the Sportsmanship Trophy.

The Youth World Championships takes place in the Laser (boy single-handed), Byte (girl single-handed), 29er (boys and girls), Hobie 16 (multihull), and Mistral classes. The trials for the boys and girls Mistral windsurfing and the girls Byte class disciplines will be held separately. With the Bytes trials taking place in Weymouth on the 20th-21st April.

Racing will commence on Tuesday the 2 April, 12 races (16 for the 29ers) have been scheduled for each class of which five (seven for 29ers) shall be completed to constitute a series. After each days racing there will be a series of talks from a selection of sailing and RYA coaching experts, including a GBR Challenge talk from members of the sailing team. An exciting social programme has been organised that promises to be bigger and better than before including events such as ten-pin bowling and human table football.

Runners and Riders

Racing is expected to be close with an expected record of 300 entries, but there will be some youth sailors to watch:

Laser Radial (boys)

The Laser Radial was introduced into the Youth Worlds in 1990, where it was the single-handed girls boat. This year it has been replaced by the Byte, but for the boys it is still a strong and competitive class in the National Youth Squad and on the international stage.

Based on the Laser Radial ladder, names to look out for in this class is Nick Thompson (Lymington), who finished 15th in last years Laser Radial Youth Worlds, also James Tilley (Penryn, F