Pupils hit the waves in Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship.

During the recent Belfast Maritime Festival two Larne Grammar pupils took to the waves to compete in the area final of the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship.

Now in its seventeenth year, the Championship is a national programme introducing kids aged from 8-16 to powerboats and training them to be safe, proficient drivers and excellent boat handlers.

RIBs are light, manoeuvrable craft and the boats driven in the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship can hit speeds of up to 25mph.   With the sun shining and a light wind, the powerboaters from Ballyholme Yacht Club, Carrickfergus Sailing Club, East Down Boat Club and East Antrim Boat Club showcased their skills including slalom, stop and reverse.

The winners will face off with other regional champions at the national final in Southampton in September. In the 8-12 age group, Joshua Kane (12) from East Antrim Boat Club took top spot for the fourth year running. With a winning time of 1.12.37 he managed to beat his own record from last year.

The Larne Grammar pupil said: “I feel like I did well today and I am proud of my performance. I’m looking forward to competing at the national final in September.”

In the 13-16 age group, Kelly Patterson (15), also from East Antrim Boat Club and a pupil at Larne Grammar, took first place. Kelly, who has been a member of her club since she was a child, completed the Championship in an impressive time of 1.04.91.

Both pupils have trained over several months to reach the skill and high standard required of this competition and I am delighted that they will now progress to the National Final scheduled for the 16th September at the UK's premier boat show in Southampton. We look forward to following their progress.

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