Some of Northampton’s most promising young windsurfers will enjoy the best possible start to their 2010 season as they received £8,000 worth of brand new, state-of-the art kit earlier this month.
Pitsford Pirates, based at Northampton Watersports Centre, is part of Team15 – the Royal Yachting Association’s nationwide network of windsurfing clubs exclusively for young people aged 15 and under – and they returned to action after the winter break on Saturday 20 March.
The new kit, which includes six boards and 12 rigs as well as harness equipment, comes courtesy of grants from Daventry District Council’s ‘Money for Youth’ fund and the John Merricks Sailing Trust. It will be used to help the club’s more intermediate level windsurfers make the step up from recreational windsurfing to competitive racing.
With an increased focus on racing this summer, Pitsford Pirates’ keen young guns will also have the opportunity to take part in several regional events and receive coaching from some of the RYA’s top coaches through the Volvo RYA Champion Club initiative, which recognises those clubs with a commitment to youth sailing and race coaching.
The club is also looking to get parents more involved in the action by teaching them some of the same skills as their children so they can begin to fully appreciate and share their child’s enthusiasm for the sport.
Jon Sweet, the RYA’s OnBoard Development Officer for Northamptonshire, said the new kit will make a massive difference to those youngsters who want to start taking their sport more seriously.
He said: “We are very grateful to Daventry District Council and the John Merricks Sailing Trust for their support. The new boards are the same as those used by the RYA’s Junior squad sailors so if our youngsters show a potential and commitment to developing their racing then they will already be familiar the right equipment to move more easily into that more serious racing environment of the RYA squad system.
“Last year was all about growing the numbers at the club but this year is all about opening up new doors for the sailors, which this kit will go a long way in helping us to do. We want to create a real team atmosphere about the club and make Pitsford Pirates something that all the sailors feel very proud to be a part of.”
Northampton Watersports Centre is holding an open day for teachers interested in getting their pupils involved in Team15 or OnBoard – the RYA’s grassroots sailing and windsurfing initiative – at Pitsford Water on Thursday 18 March. There will also be a general open day for anyone interested in learning more about sailing and windsurfing on Easter Monday. Both days will run from 12pm to 6pm and visitors can take part in dinghy taster sessions as well as sample the newly refurbished centre.
For more information about getting involved in Team15 at Northampton Watersports contact the centre on 01604 880248 or visit www.team15.org.uk