Sailing: Islington youngster Crossley receives bursary

Islington's James Crossley leads the way (pic Mark Crossley)

Islington's James Crossley leads the way (pic Mark Crossley) - Credit: Archant

Islington youngster James Crossley has received a performance bursary from the RYA’s London & South East Training Fund.

The award provides financial assistance to support a sailor's ongoing efforts to fulfil their potential and Crossley, 14, is among the latest to benefit.

Sailing since the age of seven and a member of the Island Barn Reservoir and Datchet Water Sailing Clubs, he was Topper 4.2 national champion in 2018.

He was Datchet Water Saiing Club's junior champion in 2017 and 2018 and sailor of the year in the latter, while also winning London Youth Games gold in 2019 and the London & South East Topper Traveller Series.

Crossley was first junior and first Topper in the 2019/20 Selden Sailjuice Winter Series, the UK's biggest dinghy racing series with over 1,000 sailors from 94 different boat classes representing over 350 clubs.

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He said: 'We are one of the top sailing nations in the world and the support provided by the RYA to sailors of all abilities in amazing.

'This award will help me continue to train and compete nationally and internationally over the coming year.'

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RYZ Zone Squad head coach Charlotte Bonella added: 'James has had a great year which resulted in him qualifying into the top training group of the national junior squad, making him number one of the top eight ranked boys from the season.

'He will now progress to the next level in the coaching and will do much move travelling with weekends all over the country.'

In return for the bursary sailors are expected to pass on their experiences and enthusiasm to help inspire others to follow in their footsteps and Crossleys has actively promoted sailing and the Topper dinghy class through social media.

He regularly helps at sailing club open days, RYA OnBoard days and training events, and has introduced new sailors to the RYA training squads and the International Topper Class Association regional and national competitions. He also gives talks on sailing to schools and clubs.

Dave Ellis, chairman of the RYA's LSEYTF, said: 'It's fantastic for young sailors to be able to experience a range of opportunities, both in the UK and internationally, during their development as they learn so much. But the costs of travel, accommodation, food, all quickly mount up and the bursaries provide some assistance to our young sailors as they develop their sailing careers.

'We have an abundance of talent in the region and we want to give our young sailors, whether destined for 'podiums' or as coaches, the best chance to realise their ambitions.'

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