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Want to break into the world of professional yacht racing? The British Keelboat Academy could be the foot in to the door you need. Applications are now open for the next wave of young British keelboat sailing stars to get involved.

Managed and delivered by UKSA, the BKA is an RYA programme developing 18 to 24 year old British keelboat sailors, working with them across all areas of the sport. The aim of the programme is to help sailors learn the skills and make industry contacts that will enable them to develop their sailing within the area they would like to pursue.

The aim of the programme is to help sailors learn the skills and make industry contacts that will enable them to develop their sailing within the area they would like to pursue.

Since the programme’s inception in 2003, ex-programme sailors have gone on to join Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) America’s Cup team, Volvo Ocean Race teams, TP52 Super Series, Class 40 and Figaro programmes as well as racing on the World Match Race Tour and various other One Design and offshore programmes.

Sailors will receive coaching from a multitude of different experts across the sport gaining invaluable skills, experience and knowledge that will progress them in the world of keelboat racing.

The 2015 season will be split into three programmes; the One Design Programme, the Inshore Big Boat Programme and the Offshore Programme – each focusing on a different area. BKA sailors will train with their preferred squad but will also have opportunity to experience other areas of the sport throughout the season.

One Design Programme
The OD programme is aimed at three groups; those starting out in keelboat racing and looking to develop their basic skills and understanding, Match Racers looking to develop skills, meet new teams and gain training and funding towards national and international events; finally those looking to challenge for the international Etchells UK class youth selections trials and the chance to win a fully-funded boat for the year. The programme will not restrict the sailor in to one of the three areas but will actively encourage everyone to challenge themselves across the sport, creating new opportunities.

Inshore Big Boat Programme
The Inshore programme will be aimed at the more experienced keelboat sailors with a couple of seasons of experience racing on a range of keelboats. The programme will use a Farr 45 provided by the Ran racing team, based in the Hamble, Southampton, and will compete in a number of events throughout the season including the RORC Easter Challenge, IRC Nationals, Big Boat Championships and various other Solent-based events.

Offshore Programme
The Offshore programme is a new programme for 2015 and is aimed at sailors interested in developing their offshore racing skills. The programme will look to compete in the RORC Offshore series and, should it gain enough experience and qualification, go on to challenge in the RORC Rolex Fastnet race.

British Keelboat Academy Winter training dates (all sailors required to attend these dates):

BKA Introduction(Bath University) Saturday 22nd November 2014
BKA Training 1 (Weymouth) 17th/18th January 2015
BKA Training 2 (Weymouth) 7th/8th February 2015
BKA Training 3 (Weymouth) 14th/15th March 2015
BKA Training 4 (Weymouth) 28th/29th March 2015

To apply for the British Keelboat Academy, you need to be aged between 18-24 years old during the squad year. You need to have a British passport and be available to train and race on the south coast. The programmes include fitness sessions aimed at improving every sailor’s personal fitness.

BKA applications close at 9am on Monday 3 November. To apply, please visit our website and click on How to Apply.

For further information on the British Keelboat Academy visit www.britishkeelboatacademy.org, follow the BKA on Facebook or on Twitter.

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