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Young Crews Gain Valuable Offshore Experience in Rolex Fastnet

Robin Elsey, the youngest member of the British Keelboat Academy's Squad, racing Yeoman of WightA number of youth teams will compete in the Rolex Fastnet Race this year including the All-American Offshore Team's Reichel Pugh 65, Vanquish (USA). Skippered by Charles Enright, the crew have an average age of 23 and recently completed the TR2011 Transatlantic Race along with German entry, Norddeutsche Vermögen Hamburg. The latter's highly experienced young team are members of the Hamburgischer Verein Seefahrt e.V, an organisation founded in 1903 in Hamburg with the express goal of training young people to become skilled mariners.

From the UK, Tony Lawson's Class 40, Team Concise (GBR) will be skippered by the talented 23-year old, Ned Collier-Wakefield, who will go on to campaign the boat in the Class 40 World Championships and Transat Jacques Vabre. The team was set up by Lawson four years ago to encourage and develop young British offshore sailors.

The British Keelboat Academy will be sailing the J/109, Yeoman of Wight in the Rolex Fastnet Race. The British Keelboat Academy (BKA) is a partnership between the UKSA and RYA. The BKA has been designed to support young people aged between 18 and 24 in developing the skills needed to take their keelboat racing to a professional level. One such sailor is 18-year old Robin Elsey (picture), currently in the 6th form at Truro School in Cornwall. As a member of the BKA squad, he will compete in his first Fastnet and is the youngest member on board the J/109, Yeoman of Wight, generously on loan from David Aisher.

"It will be a fantastic experience to be able to compete in the Rolex Fastnet Race as it is one of the most important ocean races in the world, as well as one of the most difficult. My dream is to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race and I see this as a key stepping stone to complete that ambition," says Elsey.

The entire crew of Yeoman of Wight is made up of British Keelboat Academy squad sailors, average age less than 21. The skipper is Henry Smith, who turned 21 on 7th August.

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