Sail Canada recognizes outstanding youth achievement

Published on February 2nd, 2015

Sail Canada has named Andrew and Ryan Woods and Antonia Lewin-LaFrance as the recipients of the Bill Burk Memorial Award, donated to Sail Canada in 1997 in honour of Bill Burk, which recognizes outstanding youth male and female achievement in competitive sailing. Recipients of the award will have competed in National and International competition during the award year and brought recognition to Canadian competitive sailing.

The Wood brothers hail from West Vancouver where they race as a part of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club’s youth race team. As dedicated athletes these brothers compete internationally in the 29er class. In a 101-boat fleet at the 2014 29er Worlds, this duo finished 21st overall. In addition to their performance at the 2014 Worlds Andrew and Ryan finished top 10 at the 29er North Americans and Midwinters and 18th of 30 in the 2014 ISAF Youth Worlds. In 2013 the boys were the Canadian Youth Champions and took home Silver at the Canada Summer Games. As young models of dedication, hard work and success, Sail Canada also awarded the Wood Brothers with the Sailor of the Month for March of 2014.

This young team is among the rising stars in Canada; their performance at the 2014 World Championships included a race win as did their performance at the 2014 ISAF Youth Worlds. Under the watchful care of Kevin Black (Sail Canada Coach of the Year), this team is an emerging talent looking to excel in the years ahead.

“I have had the pleasure of coaching Ryan and Andrew over the last few years,” said Kevin Black, Coach RVYC. “They are unique in that they both absolutely love to learn. They are not only very coachable, but also learn from their competitors, their training partners, the internet, from each other, and from older experienced sailors. The Wood brothers have a natural appetite for knowledge, and to improve their skills and performance. This attribute of constantly wanting to improve, combined with a love of training and great work ethic will make for an exciting future with many great results to come.”

Seventeen year old Radial Sailor Antonia Lewin-LaFrance from Chester, Nova Scotia had a strong 2014 season which culminated in her winning the Canadian Youth Championships in the Female Radial class; she finished 8th overall in a regatta of 114 boats. In addition to Canadian Youths, Antonia finished 1st at the RNSYS Kennedy Cup, 12th at the SMSC By Wind Regatta and 8th at the BBYC ARK Regatta.

Antonia has since been invited into the National Youth Training Group, giving her opportunities to work with National Team Coaches and train with National Team athletes during training camps. Antonia will use this experience and her hard work and determination as she trains towards her goal of qualifying for the 2015 Youth World Championships.

Antonia has her eyes set on a performance at ISAF Youth Worlds, noting she wants to be mentally and physically prepared. “I want to perform, and no longer have the mindset of ‘it’s for the experience’.”

Recipients will be in attendance to accept their awards at the Sail Canada Rolex Sailor of the Year Awards at the Carlu Toronto on February 6, 2015.

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