Kent sailor receives RYA Regional Youth Champion Award
Kent sailor receives RYA Regional Youth Champion Award

Among a new generation of talented sailors and windsurfers recognised in the RYA Regional Youth Champion Awards at the RYA Dinghy Show on 3 March were 2019 London and South East joint champions, Freya Black (18) from Goudhurst in Kent and Millie Aldridge (18) from Poole.

The awards were presented by double Olympic silver medallist and RYA Director of Racing, Ian Walker and double Olympic gold medallist and 2019 show host, Shirley Robertson OBE.

Freya and Millie were selected by the RYA’s London and South East team after they were crowned both national and European champions in the 29er dinghy class in 2018.  A force to be reckoned with, the talented sailors were made members of the senior British Sailing Team late last year. 

Freya, who followed her sister’s footsteps into sailing when she was eight, cites her parents, who have supported her throughout her sailing career, as her biggest influence.

Freya said: “I’m thrilled to receive this award, 2018 was such an exciting year, and I’m very much looking forward to competing in the international events in 2019.”

Similarly Millie acknowledges family support, citing her dad as “very committed to our family’s sailing ambitions” and her grandad as “a very wise and successful sailor.”

Millie said of the award: “It is always really nice to receive recognition for your sailing achievements and we are now focussed on trying to gain selection for this summer’s youth worlds.”

Helen Hofmann, chair of the regional award selection team, added: “The regional committee congratulates Freya and Millie on this award and wishes them every success with their sailing.”

RYA Director of Racing Ian Walker said: “Although all of the sailors recognised have achieved outstanding results, it’s not just about the titles, it’s so brilliant to see another generation of sailors falling in love with the sport and becoming ambassadors and role models.

“I’d also like to thank all of the parents, volunteers, coaches and all those that have offered support to all the champions stood on the stage today, without you none of it would be possible.”

Launched in 2014, the RYA Regional Youth Champion Awards recognise the outstanding dedication, achievement and performance of talented young people in sailing, windsurfing and powerboating.

For more information about the RYA Regional Youth Champion Awards visit