Erin and Evie on podium at youth event in England

Erin and Evie on podium at youth event in England

17 May 2017

LOCAL sailors are celebrating after securing two podium finishes and two top 20 places at the prestigious Eric Twiname Trophy youth event in Rutland, England.

Erin McIlwaine, from Newcastle Yacht Club, clinched fith spot and second girl overall, while Evie McLaughlin, from Strangford Sailing Club, finished sixth and was the third girl overall.

With more than 90 sailors in the Topper fleet, competition was tough. After day one, Evie was leading overall with a race win and a second to count, but challenging conditions left her with some high race scores.

She went on to achieve a podium finish on Sunday, keeping within the top 10 all the way through.

Erin had a consistent competition, moving up to fifth and second girl after lying ninth overnight.

Both girls were members of the RYA Northern Ireland squad, which also included brothers Philip and Colin Crichton, from Quoile Yacht Club.

In preparation for the event, RYA Northern Ireland selects a team of 10 younger sailors from its Topper Development Squad, offering support from their Head Coach to ensure sailors from Northern Ireland have an opportunity to compete to the best of their ability and learn new skills, as part of their long-term development.

RYANI’s Topper Squad head coach, Chris Penney, was impressed with how the squad performed overall.

“This was a young team and a first major event for a good few yet they still managed to produce excellent performances overall and put into practice their training from the winter,” he said. Some sailors are hungry already for next year.”

RYA NI’s Performance Development Officer, James Farrell, congratulated the squad. “This is a fun event for junior sailors and is a fantastic opportunity to race their peers at the largest junior multi class regatta in the UK, with 273 sailors competing in total,” he said.

“Our NI sailors have done us proud and it is inspiring to see their training and skills developing at such a high level.”