On Wednesday 26 June the Royal Lymington Yacht Club (RLymYC) was due to celebrate 40 years of Wednesday Junior Sailing (WJS) with HRH The Princess Royal who has followed WJS progress for many years visiting the Club and going afloat to watch the young sailors racing.

Due to a recent accident, she was unable to attend. Everyone at the Club wishes her a speedy recovery.

Michael Derrick, Commodore of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club said, "HRH The Princess Royal has been our Club's Patron since 1979. She has always shown great support for our activities and has taken a keen interest in WJS, watching it grow and thrive over the years. We extend our heartfelt wishes for her speedy recovery and are, of course, disappointed that she cannot join us. However, we believe she would have wanted us to proceed as planned".

WJS was started by local Lymington doctors, Jonathan Rogers and Tom McEwen in 1984 with 15 local school children, a couple of Scow dinghies, a Wayfarer, a 420 and, some wooden Optimists lent by the RLymYC. Forty years later over 7,000 local children have learnt to sail, row and enjoy fun on the water.


Proudly supported by Lymington Yacht Haven

Generously supported by Lymington Yacht Haven for many years, WJS runs from April - September with two sessions every Wednesday afternoon. The RLymYC fleet of boats offers fun and advancement for every ability, plus safety support and great coaching. Dirk Kalis founder of Lymington Yacht Haven and, his wife, Sally are both Honorary members of RLymYC and joined the children on what turned out to be a wonderful sailing day to watch them racing.

RLymYC Chief Instructor Richard Mills said: "We offer a wide range of activities to local children of all backgrounds and abilities. So many children enjoy the social interaction of learning to sail. We are indebted to our volunteers who give their time, energy and commitment. The scheme is still free for the children - the only cost is £1.00 for a hot chocolate and doughnut at the end of the sailing."


Club members continue to contribute

RLymYC Commodore Michael Derrick is rightly proud of the yacht club's WJS history. Said Michael Derrick: "'Our local community initiative has produced thousands of competent sailors and, over the years, a crop of highly talented sailors to the point where Olympians are home-grown in Lymington. All this was a consequence of the foresight and boundless energy of members forty years ago. Today, countless members of the Club still contribute in so many ways on the water and ashore to ensure our WJS scheme continues to thrive."

Past Wednesday Junior Sailors include Vita Heathcote (470) who will be representing Team GB at the Paris Olympics, India Syms who recently completed the 2023/2024 Ocean Globe Race, Hattie Rogers part of the America's Cup Athena Pathway, Annabel Vines a member of the British Youth Sailing team and female 29er National Champion and, Hannah Snellgrove representing Team GB in the ILCA 6 (the women's single-handed dinghy) at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.


Olympic Bound

Speaking from an Olympic training camp in Marseille, France, former Wednesday Junior Sailor Vita Heathcote said; "The Olympics was something I never even thought about as a young sailor but, as success came, the Paris Olympic dream winked at me becoming more and more real. Chris (Grube) and I are a great team, we complement each other's strengths and weaknesses. Teamwork is one of the first things I learnt in the early days of sailing at WJS."

All pictures (c) Alex Irwin sportography.tv

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