Kamila and Aga star at the Honda RIB Finals
Two powerboat driving sisters from Tettenhall turned on the style as South Staffs Sailing Club celebrated more national trophy success at the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championships Final at the Southampton Boat Show on Sunday 25 September.
Kamila Czartolomna, 15, claimed her second national Honda RYA Youth RIB title – her first coming in 2014 – in the 13-16 years age group, while her 11-year-old sister Aga, who was competing at her third national finals, achieved a best ever result of third in the 8-12 age group despite being a year younger than some of her rivals.
To top off an incredible weekend for the siblings, Kamila also clinched the perpetual 13-16 Champion of Clubs trophy, which is a head-to-head contest between this year’s champion and a representative from last year’s winning club.
As a result of her success, Kamila, who became the first girl in more than 10 years to be crowned national champion two years ago, won another brand new a Highfield 460 RIB with a Honda BF50 engine for South Staffs SC on Gailey Reservoir.
Now in its 15th year, the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship is Britain’s leading programme introducing kids to powerboats and training them to be safe, proficient drivers and excellent boat handlers. RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats) are light, manoeuvrable craft and drivers compete in time trials around sets of marks with the fastest time over two rounds winning the event.
Kamila said: “It’s amazing, I can’t believe I’ve won for a second time. Conditions were windy and with big waves which made it quite tricky out on the water. I’m already looking forward to coming back for the Champion of Clubs again next year.”
Kamila was made to work for her crown as with the wind increasing throughout the afternoon, sea state made driving conditions tough, especially for the girls who train on an inland reservoir. Her winning time of 56.19 was over two seconds ahead of her nearest challenger, Matthew Le Vasseur from Guernsey Yacht Club.
Aga, meanwhile, was unlucky to take the full brunt of the choppy water as during one reversing manoeuvre, she took on some water over the back of the boat, which slowed her progress.
Both girls sail and are trained in powerboat driving at South Staffs SC by the club’s Junior Powerboat coach, Steve Troke, and fellow instructor, Robin Harper.
Steve said: “Robin and I are ecstatic with the girls’ results, with how both young ladies performed and carried themselves throughout the whole event.
“Kamila was very cool and intensely focused on just winning safely. It was a case of wrong time, wrong gust, wrong wave for Aga, but I was so impressed with how maturely she attacked the course. It was such an improvement for her personally and in no way did she show any stress. It is wonderful to see her blossom too.”
Annette Fitzpatrick, South Staffs SC Commodore, added: “Congratulations to both Kamila and Aga, the girls have made us all so proud. Huge thanks also to Robin and Steve for all of the training and support they have given. This wouldn’t be possible without their continued commitment to the RYA Honda RIB Challenge.”
With the emphasis on swift, efficient and safe manoeuvring, the skills youngsters develop through the Honda RYA Youth RIB programme are a great chance for them to experience the thrill of racing a small powerboat and invaluable in developing safe, proficient powerboat drivers to support sailing clubs in running the activities they want to get more people out on the water more often.
Presenting the prizes at this year’s national finals were Top Gear’s Rory Reid, who was joined by Steve Morris, Head of Power Equipment for Honda (UK), and Steve Harrison from Highfield Boats.
Steve Morris, commented: “It is really important for us to encourage young people to discover the fun of boating and learn to do it safely. It is always great to see at the how the event builds the competitors’ confidence and their engagement.”
For more information about the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship visit www.rya.org.uk/go/hondayouthrib