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Four Felpham Sailing Club talents have had their quest to realise their sailing ambitions boosted thanks to grant awards from the RYA in the South East.

Jack Miller and Fin Swanton, both 14, 20-year-old Abi Bentley and Josh Wilkinson, 18, go into what is set to be a busy 2016 season for Felpham SC having received RYA South East Youth Training Fund bursaries recognising their achievements and potential, and to help fund their ongoing participation in events or coaching activities to develop their talent. The RYA is sailing’s national governing body.

Jack and Fin received Performance Bursaries for promising sailors aged up to 14 who have shown potential through achievement in RYA junior and youth squads and events, RYA ranking events or by selection for teams representing GBR or the RYA at international level. 

Meanwhile, Abi and Josh have been awarded Coaching Bursaries for young sailors aged 23 or under who have demonstrated the capability and enthusiasm to support their fellow sailors in becoming good dinghy racers as qualified RYA Race Coaches.

All four learned to sail at Felpham SC, and with Britain’s sailors poised to make their mark on the medal table at Rio 2016 this summer, the quartet hope their success will inspire the next generation of local sailors to discover the sport at their club.

Roger Belton, Felpham SC Training Principal, said: “All four are enthusiastic dinghy racers, are keen to help teach others and are wonderful role models for all at Felpham. They are very committed to the club, with their parents also undertaking a number of invaluable volunteer roles to support our activities. They typify what makes Felpham SC a special place.

“We hope as sailing again finds itself in the spotlight during the Olympic and Paralympic Games the impact all our young sailors and families have on club life will encourage even more local people to learn to sail at Felpham this year.” 

Anyone can try sailing at low cost when Felpham SC hosts its Open Day on Saturday 14 May as part of the nationwide RYA Push The Boat Out ‘have a go at sailing’ festival. The club is also running a number of RYA learn to sail courses this summer starting in May. In 2013 Felpham was a finalist in the RYA Club of the Year Award, for Britain’s best sailing club.

Fin is a member of the National Topper 4.2 Squad while Jack, who sails with clubmate Lauren Bentley, is part of the National RS Feva Squad and they hope to compete at the RS Feva World Championships in Spain this summer. The RS Feva and Topper are junior classes the RYA supports on the pathway to Olympic Classes sailing. The trio have all trained as part of RYA South and South East Zone squads over the winter.

Meanwhile Abi, who is studying Geography at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, and Josh, an A-level student, continue to make a key contribution to developing sailors at Felpham with Abi helping with the club’s successful ‘Women On Water’ sessions, inspiring more females into the sport over the past year, and Josh assisting with the club’s Friday Youth nights. Both are qualified RYA Dinghy Instructors and will qualify as coaches this summer. 

 Tony Rowe, RYA South East Secretary, added: “The RYA South East Youth Training Fund provides small bursaries to help all young talent in the South East get the same opportunities to realise their ambitions and achieve success in whatever their chosen path in the sport.”

 Felpham SC is a recognised RYA Training Centre, meaning it conforms to the highest standards of quality and safety. To find out how you can discover sailing at Felpham SC in this Olympic year visit www.felphamsailing.co.uk

 

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