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Home / News / James is a finalist in the 2019 Panerai Challenge. Congratulations
Home / News / James is a finalist in the 2019 Panerai Challenge. Congratulations

James is a finalist in the 2019 Panerai Challenge. Congratulations

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Published 20:46 on 25 Jun 2019

James Catterall, aged 10, was selected as 1 of 4 finalists in the Panerai sailing awards. He was treated to a trip to London, sailing on the River Thames on board Panerai's very own classic yacht, 'Eilean', before announcement of the winner. As one of 3 runners up he receives £2,500 which I believe he wishes to invest in a Tera and our clubs recieves £5,000 to use to enhance the experience of young people sailing.

The Panerai Challenger Trophy is an initiative from the Italian luxury watchmaker Panerai and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA). It recognises an outstanding young person aged 8-18 who has embraced the power of sailing or windsurfing to achieve a personal triumph to inspire us all. The finalists have all overcome physical, economic or social challenges to achieve a significant milestone within sailing or windsurfing.

James, was nominated for the award by the club. James sailed when younger but stopped after developing stress-induced irritable bowel disease, following bullying at school and a family bereavement. He was also subsequently diagnosed with ADHD.

Since being encouraged to return to sailing, however, his mum Bev says the sport has made a huge difference to his health and wellbeing: "He didn't initially want to go sailing because he was very embarrassed about his condition, and wouldn't even play with his friends outside school. Convincing him to go back to the sport was the best thing that ever happened. All his friends were still there and encouraged him, which gave him a massive confidence boost along with just getting back out on the water, and his coaches are absolutely marvellous with him. Sailing has also given him something he will concentrate on, because he enjoys doing it. He goes sailing and it's like he's a completely different child because he is so happy."

James now not only sails at the club but also enjoys racing. Summing up one of the reasons why he loves sailing is his response to a question about which sailing heroes have inspired him. A typical answer might include quadruple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie, but James has no hesitation in naming his best friends at the club, Rebecca and Dan, who are always there to support him and have fun.

"What I like about sailing is that whatever boat you sail, everyone is really talkative and friendly," said James. "I sometimes lose my concentration but when people sail past, they encourage you to keep going. What I also like about sailing is that you can go out on the water whenever and do what you want. I like the freedom of it. I feel happier for sailing and I would definitely recommend it to other kids. Sailing has helped me to feel better."

Derwent Reservoir SC's OnBoard Sailing Secretary, Nicola Leech said: "Sailing has been enabling for James. Experiencing independence through sailing, listening to instruction and mixing with other children who have similar interests have all served to build his confidence and concentration skills. James always tries very hard and comes off the water smiling."

This year's other Panerai Trophy finalists came from Somerset, South London and Plymouth.

RYA Chief Executive, Sarah Treseder said: "We are very pleased to receive so many fantastic applications in the second year of the partnership. Each story speaks of perseverance and hardship, but also of hope and happiness. It was extremely challenging to select the finalist but we now have four amazing stories which will inspire more young people to harness the positive benefits that watersports can bring to a young person's life and we thank Panerai for making this possible".

Sarah added: "Created together with the RYA's OnBoard programme, this joint initiative with Panerai, is designed to promote the many positive benefits which getting out onto the water can bring to young people's lives. We are thrilled that this year, we have once again heard from so many inspiring youngsters and their stories of overcoming adversity, plus the positive benefits which this has brought to themselves, their families and their sailing communities."

Last updated 13:51 on 24 March 2020

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