Windermere School is one of just fifteen clubs nationwide chosen to become a British Youth Sailing (BYS) Recognised Club, a new scheme which celebrates excellence in developing sailing stars of the future.
This new initiative will see the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) work alongside sailing clubs across the country, as it bids to promote grassroots sailing and support junior and youth sailors develop their racing skills.
In 2014, Windermere School became the first school in the UK to achieve RYA Champion Club status. RYA Champion Clubs are recognised as being ‘Centres of Excellence’ for junior race training and racing, many forming the very foundation of the British Sailing Teams. To gain this status, the school had to show that it not only introduces young people into racing, but also that it develops their enthusiasm and talent. A measure of this success is the number of young sailors who have gained places in the RYA Zone / Home Country Squads.
Four years on, the school has now met the exacting standard required to achieve BYS Recognised Club status. This status sets apart those sailing clubs, such as Windermere School, which demonstrate a commitment to the development of junior and youth racing and race training, delivered in a safe and fun environment.
Since achieving its Champion Club status, several Windermere School pupils have won major championships in various classes, the most recent being Felix Stewart and Jake Harris, who won the prestigious Eric Twiname Junior Championship Trophy at Rutland Water last month.
Graeme Rowe is the RYA Principal and Chief Sailing Instructor at Windermere School and has been race coaching for almost twenty years: “British Youth Sailing status demonstrates our continued commitment to bringing through talented race sailors. Several students have won national titles over the last few years and I have every confidence that more will follow.
This most recent achievement is all the more special because Felix and Jake are so young. At just ten and eleven years old (respectively), they were one of the youngest teams taking part – and the exciting thing is, we’ve got many more talented young sailors waiting in the wings.”
For the Headmaster of Windermere School, Ian Lavender, the sailing provision at the school offers so much more than just a chance to get out on the water. The attributes required to be successful in a boat also apply in the classroom.
“Sailing promotes confidence and teamwork. It puts our pupils in situations where they may have to cope with sudden change, where, to be successful, they may have to revise their strategy. The same is true in the classroom. Our recent increase in levels of academic attainment, not to mention being recognised as the IB School of the Year, should come as no surprise. Our best sailors, for example, manage their diets and fitness with real care and it is this increased focus which can help them in many other areas, including examination success.
I would like to thank all those who have worked so hard to achieve British Youth Sailing status, in particular Graeme Rowe, who continues to inspire the sailors at Windermere School. BYS status represents an amazing opportunity for so many of our pupils and I look forward to many more successes, both on the water and in the classroom.”
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.