Young powerboaters into national final
Young powerboaters into national final

Young powerboaters from across the London and South East hit the water on a bright sunny day for the area final of the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship at Medway Yacht Club (MYC), Lower Upnor, on Saturday.

The winners in two age groups, 8-12 and 13-16, go through to the national final held at the Southampton Boat Show in September, where they will be up against other area finalists from across the UK.

Liam Withey (age 9) from Walderslade Woods took top spot in the 8-12 age group closely followed by Alistair Verrell (11) from South Ockenden, Essex in second, with Jess Pegram (10) from Pluckley third. Liam’s winning time was 1m 50.49s.

Liam, who attends St Benedict’s Primary School in Chatham, was the youngest entrant and won the event at his first attempt, with Alistair the runner up for his second year in succession.

Liam joined MYC “to learn to drive a powerboat and have fun”. He has RYA level 1 and 2 sailing qualifications and has only been driving a RIB for seven months. He said: “It felt amazing to have won and to now have the chance to go to Southampton for the final.”

In the older age group Jake Forrest (14) from Gillingham took victory in 1m 10.53s, just one second ahead of Morgan Glass (14) from Dartford with George Pegram (13) from Pluckley making it a third in both age groups for the Pegram siblings. Morgan’s twin brother Bryn was fourth.

Jake, who has an RYA Powerboat 2 qualification, moved up from a fourth in last year’s event. He goes to Holcombe Grammar School and started sailing and powerboating “just for fun.” He said: “I’m really pleased to have come first and I’m looking forward to going to Southampton.”

MYC Commodore Colin Weston said: “The Championship is a great event to encourage youngsters to demonstrate their power boating skills. It helps them to develop to become expert boat handlers and focuses on safe and controlled boat handling skills. We enjoyed welcoming the competitors to Medway Yacht Club.”

Steve Morris, Head of Power Products at Honda (UK) added; “It has been sixteen years and we are still incredibly proud to be associated with the RYA and this exciting championship as it gives young people the opportunity to develop their skills in a safe and thrilling way.

“The Honda RYA Youth RIB Challenge also perfectly encapsulates our Engineering for Life philosophy, it provides a platform to showcase the reliability and power of our marine engines, whilst encouraging young people to get out onto the water, enjoy themselves and realise their passion.”

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. It is Britain’s leading programme introducing kids 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

Thanks to Championship sponsors Honda and Highfield. For more information about the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship visit

For more about MYC visit

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