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Monday, 9 January 2012


Keen sailors, Matt and Ben Lulham-Robinson, from Burley-in-Wharfedale near Ilkley, have had a great year in 2011 and now it has become even better. 14 year old Matt and 13 year old Ben have jointly won the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) Yorkshire Region Young Sailor of the Year Award 2011.

On Saturday 7th January at the London International Boat Show Matt and Ben alongside other RYA Regional Award winners from all over the UK they enjoyed VIP treatment and they had a great time meeting a variety of sponsors and Olympic sailors. Later at the awards ceremony they received their trophies.

“Matt and Ben have had a phenomenal eighteen months,” said Neil McInnes, Sailing Coach at Yeadon Sailing Club. “As well as winning the Junior European Championship in their Mirror dinghy in late 2010, Matt and Ben won their first Junior World Championship title in their Mirror earlier this year. A fantastic result as they were only 12 and 13 years old at the time.”

“We are immensely proud of Matt and Ben,” said the boys’ dad, Peter Robinson. “Not just with their sailing achievements, but with their overall attitude, drive and determination. It’s fantastic when others outside the family recognise and reward the boys’ exceptional qualities and skills through an award such as the RYA Yorkshire Young Sailor title.”

2012 will be another year in the perpetual struggle to juggle sailing and schoolwork for Matt and Ben. The boys have moved on from their Mirror dinghy into another class of boat, the 420 Class. Bigger and more technically demanding, the boys have already shown such promise that they have been selected for the RYA 420 Transition Training Squad, a stepping stone to RYA Youth Squad status.

“We have continued on from our success with our Mirror sails,” explained Matt and Ben, “and with the help of Mum and Dad our bedroom floor has already provided the space to produce two 420 Mainsails, three jibs and 2 spinnakers!!”

“Our school, Ilkley Grammar School, is very supportive,” said Ben. “We have a mentor as well our class Tutor who helps us if we need extensions for homework assignments. You have to be committed to both your sport and your school work and accept as much help from professionals as possible if you want to achieve in both.”

“It would also be impossible to do it without the help we get from sponsors and coaches,” said Matt. “We need to thank everyone for their support, but especially mum and dad, who not only act as chauffeurs, fundraisers, life style coaches etc, but also help us make our sails in our bedroom.”

The RYA Regional Young Sailor of the Year awards recognise the outstanding impact young people have made to UK boating, whether it’s on the race course, at their club, overcoming adversity or through an exceptional achievement.

RYA Chief Executive Sarah Treseder says: “Winning an RYA Regional Young Sailor of the Year Award is a fantastic achievement and I am delighted to recognise the talent of these people and the dedication they show for our sport. Awards such as this highlight the fact that so many young sailors are out there on the water enjoying themselves and achieving brilliant things.”

Over the next two consecutive weekends the boys will be going to Grafham Water near

Cambridge for the 420 Transition Squad training event and they will be expected to undergo a series of fitness tests as well having to take to the water. They have been made aware that being tested to the point of physical exhaustion may be required as part of the programme.

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