Press Release: 29 October 2009


The future looks bright for Britain’s up and coming young keelboat sailors, with the RYA and UKSA today announcing their new ‘British Keelboat Academy’.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has joined forces with leading maritime training provider, UKSA to create the British Keelboat Academy. Developed for young people aged 18-24, the programme has been designed to prepare sailors for keelboat racing at the highest level, training up and coming sailors to compete in events including the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race.

The new programme combines the former RYA Keelboat programme and UKSA’s GBR Yacht Racing Academy giving those involved access to the expertise and facilities of both organisations. Run to RYA standards and delivered by UKSA’s head coach, Luke McCarthy, the British Keelboat Academy will offer 50 individuals a one to two-year mixed programme covering all aspects of training, racing, boat work and electronics.  

Ben Willows, Director of Operations at UKSA, said: “We are delighted to be joining forces with the RYA to create the British Keelboat Academy. Both organisations are passionate about giving young sailors the opportunity to get out on the water. We hope to inspire and support even more young people and widen access to top level racing for those already involved in the sport and also for those that wouldn’t normally have the opportunity.” 

RYA Racing Manager John Derbyshire commented: “Providing a constant stream of talented sailors into keelboat campaigns remains a key priority for this programme. We’re really pleased to be moving this into a new era and working with UKSA on this joint approach is exciting.

“The mix of expertise and resources UKSA and RYA are bringing to the Academy programme will create an invaluable and world leading training resource which will continue to produce top class keelboat sailors.

“We plan to develop and extend the network of sponsors and partners, many of whom have supported us throughout this year, as we seek to add more value to the Programme” he concluded.     

Applications to the British Keelboat Academy National Squad are now being invited ? interested parties should apply for consideration via the website by 20th November at

As part of the British Keelboat Academy programme, the RYA and UKSA will continue to run  the TP52 John Merricks II, provided by the John Merricks Sailing Trust for selected campaigns in 2010, and its Crewsearch scheme which matches sailors with skippers and boat owners looking for young talent for their keelboat campaigns.


For more information contact

Ellie Williamson

RYA Racing Communications Officer

T: 023 8060 4219

M: 07769 505203


Nicola Holder


T: 01425 472330


Notes for Editors

About the RYA

·         The RYA is recognised by all government offices as being the negotiating body for the activities it represents. It continually fights for the rights and freedoms of its 103,000 personal members, the majority of whom choose to go afloat for purely recreational non-competitive pleasure on coastal and inland waters.

·         It represents a further estimated 500,000 boat owners nationally through its 1600 affiliated clubs and boat owner associations.

·         Olympic and Youth sailing is a beneficiary of the Lottery funded World Class Programmes (WCP) and administered by the Sports Councils. The Programmes focus on performance sport with the aim of achieving sporting excellence on the world stage. Further information can be found on the UK Sport website at and Sport England’s website at

·         Further information can be found at 

About UKSA

·         UKSA is a registered charity that is committed to changing the lives of everyone it works with through its maritime training and experiences. During 2008, UKSA trained over 6,400 people and was awarded the South East Prince’s Trust Innovative Partner Award.


·         The charity has enhanced the lives of many young people and undertakes extensive fundraising activities to provide personal development opportunities to all. 


·         UKSA is also a globally recognised professional training establishment, training people in watersports and yachting to the highest level. Its graduates include world-renowned sailor Dee Caffari. The charity is also honoured to have Ellen MacArthur as an ambassador.

·         For further information visit 


Upcoming Events
2020 Firefly Nationals

Organized by BUSA
1 to 2 August 2020

British Keelboat League

Organized by Royal Yachting Association
1 to 2 August 2020

British Keelboat League

Organized by Royal Yachting Association
5 to 6 September 2020

Twitter Feed

Join Our Facebook Group