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Olympic sailing ace Hugh Styles is among coaches at National Youth Regatta at Downs Sailing Club, Walmer, Deal

By Beth Robson

Olympic sailing aces were among the hundreds of visitors and competitors in Walmer for the National Youth Regatta at the Downs Sailing Club this week.

The event, run by the National Schools Sailing Association, has seen a mixed week already, with glorious conditions on Monday followed by suspended sailing today (Tuesday).

Sailing conditions were excellent on Monday at the National Youth Regatta next to Deal Pier

But according to Chris Shelton, chairman of the organising committee at Downs Sailing Club, the shore time has given young sailors the chance to pick the brains of Olympic coaches like Hugh Styles.

Mr Shelton said: “We tried to wait today for the weather to get better. We did a postponement and when Hugh visited he kept the visitors entertained by giving a technical talk.”

“Monday was an excellent day, we had light winds and we got all the boats out," Chris Shelton, Downs Sailing Club

He added: “Monday was an excellent day, we had light winds and we got all the boats out. But today the water was quite calm but we had rolling waves on the beach and some of the young sailors don’t know how to recover from in these conditions.

The last time the regatta was held at Walmer was 1999 and the organisations for this years event have earned the club praise.

“It’s been a massive undertaking for us. There are literally hundreds of volunteers and we are getting a lot of compliments.”

Young sailors between nine and 18 took part in the National Youth Regatta 2014 at Downs Sailing Club, Deal

John Barrett, dry side manager said the 19 teams turned up to the designated campsite at Ripple Vale School on Sunday.

The grounds, which are lined with tents, give a “mini festival feel” and the competitors and visitors have been involved in activities like five-a-side football, table tennis, volley ball and rounders.

By night, the grounds of Ripple Vale have a festival feel

“It’s a fantastic feel. We are catering for about 350 people and the school is cooking on site.

“The whole staff are giving up their time in the holidays,” he said.

The tournament is bringing tourism benefits too with competitors visiting Fowlmead and Tides on Wednesday and Thursday.

Sailing on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday is expected to be extended to make up for the three races missed today.

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