WINDERMERE School is one of just 15 clubs nationwide chosen to become a British Youth Sailing (BYS) Recognised Club, a new scheme which celebrates excellence in developing sailing stars of the future.

This new initiative will see the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) work alongside sailing clubs across the country, as it bids to promote grassroots sailing and support junior and youth sailors develop their racing skills.

Windermere was already the first school in the UK to attain RYA Champion Club status, meaning it is recognised as a centre of excellence for junior training and racing, and last month saw Felix Stewart and Jake Harris become the latest pupils to win major championships with victory in the prestigious Eric Twiname Junior Championship at Rutland Water last month.

“British Youth Sailing status demonstrates our continued commitment to bringing through talented race sailors,” said Graeme Rowe, RYA principal and chief sailing instructor at the school.

“Several students have won national titles over the last few years and I have every confidence that more will follow.

“This most recent achievement is all the more special because Felix and Jake are so young. At just 10 and 11 years old respectively, they were one of the youngest teams taking part – and the exciting thing is we’ve got many more talented young sailors waiting in the wings.”

Windermere School headmaster Ian Lavender believes the institution's provision for sailing is a vital part of the all-round learning experience for pupils too rather than simply an opportunity to get out on the water.

“Sailing promotes confidence and teamwork,” said Lavender. “It puts our pupils in situations where they may have to cope with sudden change, where, to be successful, they may have to revise their strategy.

“The same is true in the classroom. Our recent increase in levels of academic attainment, not to mention being recognised as the IB School of the Year, should come as no surprise. Our best sailors, for example, manage their diets and fitness with real care and it is this increased focus which can help them in many other areas, including examination success.

“I would like to thank all those who have worked so hard to achieve British Youth Sailing status, in particular Graeme Rowe, who continues to inspire the sailors at Windermere School.

“BYS status represents an amazing opportunity for so many of our pupils and I look forward to many more successes, both on the water and in the classroom.”