Promising sailor Jake Bowhay is getting extra help in his bid to win a place in the Royal Yachting Association’s national youth squad. Jake has bought a new race sail thanks to a financial boost from sponsor AMFA, after finishing in the top ten at both the Worlds and National Championships in the Topper category. Those successes were greatly helped by previous sponsorship from AMFA.

Since last September, Jake has been competing in the Laser Radial class – a much bigger (4.2m long),  faster and more competitive fleet. Within a week of collecting his new boat, he had his first taste of laser racing by competing in the UK qualifier series in South Shields followed by competitions at Hayling Island and Pwllheli in north Wales.

“That was quite a baptism of fire given my lack of experience in the Laser,” he explained.

“After this it was time to put in the cold and long winter training hours.”

This consisted of on the water training out of Stokes Bay with friends as well as coaching at Hayling Island and Weymouth.
Highlights included sailing in the snow to see Hampshire sailor Alex Thompson return from the solo round the world Vendee Globe race and sailing all the way round Hayling Island which involved swimming the boat under a bridge!

Three more qualifier events acted as a warm up before the first major event of the year, the RYA Youth Nationals at Hayling.
There Jake finished 14th out of the fleet of 53. “I was happy with that  given it was my first year of Lasers,” he said.

After a short break from sailing to focus on my GCSE exams, Jake has returned to training ready for the UK Nationals at Abersoch and the Youth World Championships in Medemblik this month.
“The Youth world championships will have over 280 competitors from 41 different countries,” he said. “My goal, which is quite ambitious given the standard and experience of the competitors, is to qualify for Gold Fleet and hopefully win a place in the RYA National Youth Squad.”

After three days of racing, the fleet is split into three sections with Gold Fleet being the top one for the final series of races.

UPDATE 26th September 2017

Jake has just returned from the 2017 Laser Radial World Championships in Medemblik, which was a great experience sailing against the worlds best.  Jake said, “The first 3 days sailing were very light followed by two days of moderate winds and although his results weren’t quite what he was hoping for, he still learnt a lot by going”.

Jake Bowhay preparing for the Worlds in Medemblik
Jake has just returned from 2 days training in Weymouth before heading to Sunderland for the first of the Youth World Championship qualifiers.