Thorp Academy

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George honoured after impressive year

A PROMISING young sailor from Thorp Academy has been named a North-East winner of the Royal Yachting Association's Regional Youth Champion Awards.

A PROMISING young sailor from Thorp Academy has been named a North-East winner of the Royal Yachting Association’s Regional Youth Champion Awards.

Ryton’s George Stewart, of Kielder Water Sailing Club, is one of ten aspiring sailors from across Britain selected, after being recognised for outstanding achievement in sailing, windsurfing and power boating.

Olympic sailor and 49er world champion Dylan Fletcher presented the awards at an official presentation at the RYA Dinghy Show in London.

George was nominated after becoming the BIC Techno 4.5 windsurfing national champion and improving his ranking in the hugely competitive Optimist sailing class.

His results led to him earning selection to the RYA North and Midlands Windsurfing Zone squad and also to the RYA Optimist National Development Squad, each of which aim to hone the skills of up and coming talent.

George, who is benefiting from the Elite Performer Programme at Ryton’s Thorp, a Northern Education Trust academy, has chosen to take up a place in the higher level sailing squad and is now training hard over winter.

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He said: "I'll still be doing windsurfing with my club but hope to focus on my Optimist sailing more. They're great boats and I just love the experience of taking part in training and sailing events all over the country. For the coming season I want to keep progressing and keep pushing forward."

George recently returned from a squad camp on the sea at Pwllheli in Wales and will be representing GBR at the international Braassemermeer Regatta in Holland over Easter ahead of the main UK championship season. He also plans to continue competing with Kielder Water SC’s Team 15 Kestrels windsurfing club.

Events in the Optimist class can see more than 200 sailors competing for honours and at the class Winter Championship, at Datchet in London, George achieved personal best individual race results of a 5th, 9th and 10th place.

Kielder Water SC committee member and instructor Michelle Russell, who nominated George for the award, added that in addition to George’s success on the national circuit he had been sharing his skills at his home club.

Michelle said: “George has a positive attitude and is always keen to help others who are less experienced, encouraging and supporting them both on and off the water. He has assisted the coaches at Kielder Water’s dinghy club and is also a keen competitor in club racing when not travelling or training.”

RYA Director of Sport Development Alistair Dickson said: “We’re delighted to recognise the achievements of these sailors, who have all shown lots of hard work, sacrifice and determination to the sport. The Awards also help to emphasize the endless support of our many volunteers who work so hard at the club level to give our sailors the best possible start to their future sailing careers.”

For more information on the RYA Regional Youth Champion Award visit www.rya.org.uk/go/youthchampion