Ireland’s biggest youth regatta is taking place this week with over 200 young sailors taking part in the 2022 Irish Sailing Youth National Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club in Bangor, County Down.

Boys and girls under 18 are competing against each other on the racecourse, with a rough 60:40 male/female split.

Ballyholme is the biggest club in Northern Ireland and has a reputation for producing world-class sailors representing Ireland at international and Olympic levels, including Liam Glynn and 49er Olympians Matt McGovern and Ryan Seaton.

It allows for a wide variety of racecourses, with the whole of Belfast Lough to play with.

The Irish Sailing Youth National Championships are the biggest youth sailing event held in Ireland, and the only time that different youth classes or types of boats come together to compete, gain valuable experience on the water and learn more about the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway directly from the coaches.

Six classes have been identified as the best to facilitate progression through the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway.

Organiser Sean Evans, Irish Sailing’s Olympic Development Coach said “This is our biggest and most important youth regatta of the year and is key to helping identify young sailors to populate the Irish Sailing Academy and Performance Pathway.”

“One of the core values the Academy holds very close is that our sailors become fully rounded athletes and not just ruthless racers. The behavioural and cultural atmosphere required to consistently perform at an international level are demanding and we need to identify young people who will both thrive on and off the water.”

It will be a cold week for the sailors with water temperatures in Ballyholme at this time of the year still chilly, with average temperatures of 4-12 degrees centigrade and reliably windy conditions.

The first races are on the water this morning and the competition will run until Sunday.