Results after tense final

After a summer of fierce and highly competitive regional finals and a national final that proved a real nail-biter, it was victory all round for the Eastern region with eleven year old, Steven Curtis, from Godmanchester in Huntingdon and fifteen year old Aaron Lowther from Canvey Island in Essex, who powered their way through to be crowned 2008 Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship champions.

Both boys beat off competition from 28 other youngsters from around the country to win their respective classes and clinch the coveted titles, at the competitions national final held at the PSP Southampton Boat Show.

In the 8-12 age group, Steven put in a winning time of 1.13.60, whilst Aaron in the 13-16 age group raced home with a winning time of 1.03.27. Both skilfully manoeuvred around a tricky and testing course which included a slalom run, 360O reverse around a buoy and a man over board test.

Steven, from Paxton Lakes Sailing Club and Aaron from the Island Yacht Club both win a 4.8m Ribcraft RIB’s with Honda BF50 Outboards, on an Indespension trailer with an Icom 505 VHF radio for their club – one complete RIB package for each class. The boys also won a selection of other goodies thanks to the event sponsors which included: a Sea Lite remote control sail boat courtesy of Honda, Henri Lloyd clothing thanks to Indespension, £100 from Ribcraft and an Ipod each from ICOM, as well as their much-deserved winner’s trophies.

There were also prizes for the runners up; second place (8-12) Jordan Muckles, defending 2007 champion, and (13-16) Luke McGill, a previous champion, were presented with remote control stealth boats courtesy of Honda, £75 from Ribcraft.

Steven, who is younger brother to previous Honda RYA Youth RIB champion Katrina Curtis, said of his win: “It feels fantastic to have won. Half of me thought I would win and the other half thought I really wouldn’t. This is the third year I’ve competed in the event so I’m really pleased to have finally clinched the title.

“I did some extra tidal race practice which I think really helped me do well this year. Will definitely be back next year to defend my title and maybe in the future I will go on to race powerboats as a job.”

Cheered on by his 60 strong supporters, a very emotional Aaron told us: “I’ve been practicing every week since I won my regional heat but to win is complete surprise. When I was on the water I felt I didn’t do anything wrong and managed to put in a great time, but competition was fierce so I am delighted to have won.”

Steve Morris, Sales Manager for Honda Marine UK, who presented the awards said: “The standard of competition out on the water today has been incredible, the highest ever and each and every competitor should be extremely proud of their achievements.

“The championship is a great way for kids to get in to boating in a fun and safe environment, both of which are important values of Honda.”

Also presenting the awards was RYA Chairman Richard Langford, who said: “It’s great to see so many youngsters and so many supporters here today. Everyone has done fantastically well and should wear their event shirts with pride.”

Now in its seventh year the Honda RYA Youth RIB challenge allows youngsters to demonstrate their skills as expert boat handlers and improve their skills in a safe, controlled environment. To ensure safety at all times each child is accompanied in the RIB by a competent adult/instructor.

For details of how to enter click on the YOUTH section of www.rya.org.uk