Leicestershire Youngsters Triumph at Flagship National Schools Sailing Event

Young Leicestershire sailors made their mark on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic waters of Weymouth and Portland by bringing home silverware from the prestigious National School Sailing Association (NSSA) National Youth Regatta during the week of 22nd to 26th July.
More than 300 young sailors representing their county, school or sailing association from across the UK descended on Dorset for the flagship summer event, and Leicestershire youngsters Ben Sherry, Ted Ball and Harry Whitelegg all featured as the prizes were handed out at the end of the week.
With the regatta catering for young sailors of all abilities, 14-year-old Ben from Market Bosworth clinched the winners’ trophy for the Rookie fleet, which is open to all who are taking their first steps in racing and designed so new racers can experience a big event in a fun, informal way. Ben, sailing in a Topper dinghy, won four out of 12 races to top the Rookie podium as teammates Will Goodship (4th) and Adam Aziz (7th) joined him in the top 10.finished in an impressive third place after competing against many older sailors, while joint Leicestershire team captain, Harry Whitelegg, from Burbage, lifted the NSSA Award for Sportsmanship for his care and consideration of his team.
The Leicestershire team were aged from just nine to 16 years old, with talented young sailors from various Leicestershire clubs gathered together to sail under the banner of the Leicestershire and Rutland Youth Sailing Association (LRYSA). Many of them had learned to sail through RYA OnBoard, the national low cost grassroots programme, which the LRYSA runs to help promote equal access to sailing for young people aged eight to 18.
Colin Magee, LRYSA Principal, said: “I am so proud of these young sailors and what they have achieved. They were competing in very demanding conditions on the open sea. This is the youngest team we have ever taken to a national event and I’m sure amongst them are champions of the future.”
Based at John Merricks Lake in Watermead Country Park, Syston, LRYSA is an inclusive charity focused on providing opportunities to local people who might not otherwise have the chance to get on the water. As a recognised RYA Training Centre it conforms to the highest standards of safety and quality, while there are no membership fees, all boats and safety kit are provided and sailing is taught by RYA-qualified volunteer instructors.
The LRYSA’s alumni includes 1996 Olympic silver medalist, John Merricks, and 2007 Topper class World Champion, Mike Wood, while Chairman and RYA Training Principal, Colin Magee, was the BBC East Midlands Sports Unsung Hero in 2013. To find out more about how you could discover a new life on the water with LRYSA, visit www.lrysa.org.uk or contact Jill Magee at [email protected]