The Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship, sponsored by Honda and Highfield, is a National Championship in which 8-16 year old Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) drivers can demonstrate their skills with the goal of winning a Highfield 460 or a Honwave T40 for their club.
The competitors qualified for the event through local heats, and the winners in two age groups, 8-12 and 13-16, will go through to the national final held at the Southampton Boat Show in September. There they will be up against other area finalists from across the UK.
George Pegram (12) from Pluckley, Ashford, was a clear winner in the 8-12 age group, with Alistair Verrill (10) from South Ockenden, Essex in second a mere 3 seconds ahead of his cousin Lily Cameron (10) from Middle Stoke, Grain in third. All three are members of Medway Yacht Club.
George, a pupil at Norton Knatchbull school, was competing in the event for the second time after getting into the sport because “it looked like fun when I was sailing.”
George said: “I’m excited to represent Medway Yacht Club at the national final at Southampton.”
In the older age group Bryn Glass (13) from Dartford took victory with Harry Chung (16) of St Mary’s Island, Chatham in second and Bryn’s twin brother Morgan Glass (13) in third. Again all three are members of host club Medway Yacht Club.
Bryn and Harry, who has been area champion twice, posted identical best times, so had to put in an extra run each to decide the top spot on the podium. Bryn’s “sudden death” run was slightly slower than his first timed run. Harry then set off on a blistering and confident run until a mistake meant recovering equipment from the water and he was unable to make up the time. He was the first to congratulate Bryn and wish him well.
It was third time lucky for Bryn, who attends Leigh Academy and has twice been runner up at the event, having started the sport “because it’s competitive and fun”.
Bryn said his goal was to beat his twin brother, Morgan, who had beaten Bryn in the last two years in the regional finals in the 8-12 age group. Morgan was third at the national final last year.
Bryn added: “I’m excited to reach the final but I feel sorry for those in second and third as they were unlucky to lose time in a couple of places.”
Jake Forrest (13) had only driven a RIB four times before the event but put in an impressive run to finish fourth in his age group.