TILLY Matthews (age 16) from Barry who attends Ysgol Bro Morganwg and Jemma Viney (age 16) from Peterston Super Ely who attends Cowbridge Comprehensive School have been selected for the RYA 420 UK Youth Sailing Squad. The squad is made up of the eight best youth (age 18 and under) crews in Britain.

The RYA UK Youth Squad Programme is designed to enable the best British sailors to develop their racing skills so that they can achieve on the international stage.

Qualification was based on results from two national championships. At the GB 420 Inland Championships at Carsington, Derbyshire, in mid September the girls put in an excellent series of consistent results over two days of competition. They finished in fifth place overall and winning a silver medal as the second female crew.

The second qualification event was the GB 420 Autumn Championships held at Poole on the South coast at the end of September. This was a challenging event as there was a very light shifty wind all weekend and sailing conditions were made more difficult with a strong tide on the ebb.

The girls were a little disappointed with some of their results at Poole but their performance over the two events was good enough for them to be selected for the British Squad.

Jemma and Tilly have only been sailing together for a year since moving on from single handed junior boats.

Tilly has been sailing for four years. She said “I got the sailing bug after I went on a family sailing holiday in Croatia. On return home I went to Cardiff Bay Yacht Club and asked about dingy sailing. I learnt to race a Topper, was selected for the Welsh Topper squad and I went on to represent Wales in several events.”

Tilly had come as far as she could in a Topper and was looking for a new challenge, when she was asked by Nick Sawyer, Cardiff Bay Yacht Club training coach if she was interested in sailing with Jemma, as crew in a double handed boat. The girls hit it off straight away.

They have travelled as far as Belgium, France, all over Wales and England in the last year to fulfil their dreams. They would like to thank Nick Sawyer and Cardiff Bay Yacht Club for their help and support; and Cardiff Pointe, the Property Developers at Cardiff Bay, who have sponsored the girls over the past year, helping with the cost of travel to overseas events and enabling them to have extra specialist coaching.

Jemma and Tilly will train with the GBR and Welsh squads nearly every weekend all through the winter, with some longer sessions at half term and Christmas school holidays.

Their next event will be the Grand prix de L"Armistice at Bordeaux in France over half term with five days of racing. They are aiming for qualification for the European Championships next year and would love to progress into the 470 Olympic class.