By Steve Wilson, ex-squaddie and RS Sales Guru
Leaving Youth Sailing naturally feels like the end of an era, having spent the last couple of years racing hard against your friends in classes such as the 420 or 29er it can feel like there is a big choice ahead of you. Having raced the 29er in my teenage years, there is no doubt they are a great boat, but after reaching the maximum age for the RYA’s Youth Squad it was time to move on. For those racing at the front of the fleet the natural progression will be into the RYA’s Olympic programme and for those who are successful, I say congratulations and wish you the best of luck!
However, for the majority of sailors leaving their respective Youth classes an Olympic campaign is not an option. So, what are the available routes for these sailors? The first obvious factor for me would be: Are you going to University? For those who are and are looking to continue their competitive sailing, the University Sailing Team will no doubt be a port of call. BUSA cater for a wide range of sailing activities, such as Team Racing, Match Racing and Yacht Racing along with a development programme for anyone looking to gain some official qualifications as a way to starting a career in the marine industry.
For those who aren’t going to University, there are potentially a lot more options and the key question here is: What type of sailing do I want to do? A wide choice of dinghy classes awaits you in the world of adult sailing in the UK and your preference may be swayed by the fleet at your local club. However, for those who are coming out of Youth sailing and wish to continue with competitive racing along with their friends, this limits the choice. At RS Sailing, we believe we have 2 obvious choices: The RS200 and RS800.
For those skiff sailors, the RS800 offers great performance on a stable platform and with used prices generally starting around the £3000 mark it is an affordable way to continue sailing for those who are starting their first job. Have a read of this recent RS800 blog to understand a bit more about the RS800 and why it could be the perfect choice for you. The RS200 is much more about the “Nip & Tuck” racing, where every inch can matter on the racecourse, so perfect for those who prefer a tactical battle. Again, used boat prices start around the £3000 mark, so it is possible to pick up a boat quite easily and get straight into some quality racing.
Both the RS200 and RS800 have a full racing calendar organised by the RS Class Association, with Regional, National and International events. The RS family is famous for mixing a quality days racing on the water with a social itinerary to match it, so there really is something for everybody. With the structured set up of the Youth system behind you, it’s not uncommon to feel a little lost but the RS family is here to welcome you with open arms into a world of competitive and fun sailing in a relaxed and sociable environment.