Buoyant sailing club on crest of a wave after being crowned best in the country - The Rugby Observer

Buoyant sailing club on crest of a wave after being crowned best in the country

Rugby Editorial 29th Feb, 2024   0

BUOYANT sailors at a Warwickshire club are breaking open the champagne after being crowned best in the country.

Draycote Water Sailing Club has won the Royal Yachting Association Club of the Year title, fending off 14 other finalists and numerous other entrants.

The trophy was presented to club members by Olympic sailing gold medallist Eilidh McIntyre in front of a packed audience at the RYA Dinghy and Watersports Show.

The club also triumphed in the Young Person’s category.

Commodore William Whittaker said: “It’s brilliant! This represents 10 years of hard work to develop the club and we are now seeing our youth and juniors enjoying sailing on a daily and weekly basis.

“We are so pleased to win Club of the Year and it means a lot to our dedicated volunteers and staff who have helped us to achieve this pinnacle award. Our fantastic young members will also be very proud because they’ve contributed to this success as well.”

RYA Awards Panel member Janet Viney said: “Choosing a winner was challenging as the standard was so high.

“We were impressed with how Draycote Water Sailing Club hasn’t stood still and by introducing new opportunities, its young membership has kept coming back to enjoy all the club has to offer.”

Jess said it was an ‘amazing feeling’ to win the Yachting Journalists’ Association Young Sailor of the Year award.

Club member Jess Powell, 13, who learnt to sail and race at Draycote, has also been named the joint winner of the Yachting Journalists’ Association Young Sailor of the Year award – becoming its youngest ever winner.

Last year, Jess was crowned 2023 Topper national champion and junior world champion.

Rugby High School pupil Jess said: “It’s an amazing feeling and such an honour to win the award. Thank you so much to the YJA and everyone that voted for me.”

Previous winners of the YJA Young Sailor of the Year title include Dame Ellen McArthur and Olympic gold medallists Hannah Mills and Sir Ben Ainslie.

Club President Jeremy Atkins said: “We are so proud of Jess. She learnt to sail at the club at the age of eight and has progressed to competing nationally and internationally with coaching from our Draycote Academy. She is a fantastic young sailor and definitely one to watch.”


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