It’s been a summer of sailing to remember for Windermere School, with several of its students beginning the new academic year as National Sailing Champions.
Lucy Ferguson, Theo Stewart, Pierce Harris and Alfie Cogger have all been crowned national champions in their various classes, while fellow student, Ethan Leahy, secured victory in the National Schools Sailing Association Regatta, where he was representing the Cumbria Youth Sailing Team. These achievements follow Teddy Ferguson’s victory at the RS Feva Inland Championships, which took place earlier in the summer at Draycote Water Sailing Club.
Pierce Harris and Alfie Cogger have had a long summer of competition, beginning at the RS Feva World Championships which were held at Medemblik Sailing Club in Holland. After an eventful five days of sailing, Pierce Harris and Alfie Cogger took bronze, while Teddy Ferguson and Ewan Wilson finished in a very respectable ninth place.
This was Pierce and Alfie’s last ever competition in the RS Feva and they went out on a high, finishing first in the final race of the championships. Following their bronze medal, Pierce and Alfie moved up to the 29er Class, a two person high performance sailing skiff, the same boat Ethan Leahy was racing to secure victory at the National School Sailing Association Regatta at Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire.
Pierce and Alfie experienced their first taste of competitive racing in the 29er Class in Weymouth, where, after five days of racing, often in very gusty conditions, Pierce and Alfie finished 26th overall and in doing so were crowned the UK 29er National Junior Champions.
Meanwhile, in Carnac, France, the RS Tera World Championships were taking place, providing an opportunity for some of the school’s younger sailors to shine. Over the course of five days, 104 children from seven nations competed in varying conditions, with Theo Stewart finishing 13th overall in the Pro Fleet (out of thirty-seven entries), and James Johnson finishing 11th overall in the Sport Fleet (out of sixty-six entries).
More recently, Theo and James took part in the RS Tera Scottish National Championships at Dalgety Bay Sailing Club. The first day proved challenging – the combination of lack of breeze and an ebb tide catching out a few of the sailors – but the second day dawned with a fresher breeze which made for some exciting sailing. In the Sport Fleet, James Johnson finished in a very respectable 2nd place, while Theo’s brother, Felix, finished one place behind in 3rd. In the Pro Fleet, Theo finished in 1st place, meaning he became the Scottish National Champion for the second year in succession.
With the summer break all but over, Lucy Ferguson set off to the seaside town of Tenby, in south-west Wales, for the RS200 National Championships, where she was racing with Henry Rastrick from the Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club. After five days of races, Lucy and Henry had finished 26th overall, but were the first placed junior boat, meaning they left Tenby as the UK RS200 National Junior Champions.
Graeme Rowe, Royal Yachting Association Principal and Chief Sailing Instructor at Windermere School, was delighted with the success the students have enjoyed over the summer, “Our students have travelled up and down the country and beyond and have earned some valuable race experience, with some outstanding results. To have a number of national champions at the school is a fantastic achievement, but it doesn’t come without determination and sacrifice, from the students, their parents, the coaches and the staff. A huge well done to all of our students who have taken part in these events over the summer.”
Mr Lavender, Headmaster at Windermere School, added, “What a wonderful way to begin a new academic year and I echo Graeme’s sentiments – these achievements do not happen without hard work and support. I would like to thank all of those involved and to congratulate all of our sailors who have taken part in the various events over the course of the summer.”
The first time my daughter and I visited the school she said to me “that is a happy school no question.” The scholastic achievements of the school are evident and an easy measure for a school to demonstrate. What is hard to quantify is the holistic development of a pupil at which, in my experience, Windermere School excels.
Windermere School is such a unique community to be a part of. Not only is it based in a truly beautiful and inspiring national park, but the environment created by staff and students alike makes for an incredibly supportive, proactive, exciting and international place of learning in which everyone can thrive and be the best they can be.