Three promising young sailors awarded Mastercard® Youth Training Programme scholarships

 In News, Youth Training Programme
Mastercard Youth Training Programme Scholarship Recipients with Mastercard’s Lucy Jezard – Image (c) Suellen Hurling / Live Sail Die

The Mastercard® Youth Training Programme, the world’s leading youth sail training programme, has today welcomed its class of 2021/22 to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron for orientation day ahead of what will be another fantastic year of training at the Home of the America’s Cup.

In a new initiative, naming rights sponsors of the programme, Mastercard®, have given scholarships to three promising young sailors for the coming year which generously covers all of their programme fees. 

Mastercard® Youth Training Programme Training Manager Reuben Corbett had a big task on his hands trying to select the three lucky sailors from what is a large pool of excellent young talent, but says it wasn’t just about their sailing prowess that got the selected candidates over the line – 

“I had to come up with a clear criteria for selection, which was no easy feat, however the main things I had in mind were the sailors commitment to the sport, keenness to learn, their willingness to volunteer and help out at the club and I also factored in the candidates where money is an obstacle for taking part in the programme.”

Benett Nelson is the first of the scholarship winners. The sixteen-year-old is beginning his third year in the Mastercard® Youth Training Programme and one of the main reasons for his selection is the amount of volunteering, help and work he puts in around the RNZYS. Still in school at Rangitoto College, Nelson still finds the time to come to the club nearly every day after school and on weekends to volunteer with race management, assist the RNZYS Learn to Sail Programme, help out with the Mastercard® Youth Training Programme and even work in the kitchen. 

Mastercard Youth Training Programme Scholarship Recipient Luke Cameron-Smith – Image (c) Suellen Hurling / Live Sail Die

Also beginning his third year is Luke Cameron-Smith, another one of our Mastercard® scholarship winners. Now at eighteen years of age, Cameron-Smith has already proudly represented the RNZYS at a regatta in Japan and has come a long way in his two years in the programme to date including winning the first-place bowman award for the 2020 Mastercard® Youth Training Programme. Cameron-Smith is also always willing to offer his time to volunteer, including being a great help at the Mastercard® National Youth Training Weeks held at Kawau Island. 

Mastercard Youth Training Programme Scholarship Recipient Amber Hookway – Image (c) Suellen Hurling / Live Sail Die

Our last recipient is twenty-two-year-old Amber Hookway who is beginning her first year in the Mastercard® Youth Training Programme. Hookway has just completed a sports degree in Invercargill and is “super keen” to get stuck into learning more about keelboat sailing after a few years away from the sport. Hookway also has an eye on coaching and will be a valuable asset for the RNZYS going forward. 

The RNZYS would like to thank Mastercard® for offering these three outstanding young sailors this amazing opportunity, and together with Mastercard®, would like to congratulate our three scholarship winners and we look forward to watching their progress across the coming year and beyond. 

Mastercard Youth Training Programme Scholarship Recipients – Image (c) Suellen Hurling / Live Sail Die

More information: Mastercard® Youth Training Programme

The Mastercard® Youth Training Programme is a programme delivering intensive sail training for young sailors in a disciplined environment. This programme has long been regarded globally as a leader in Youth Sailing Training and is the world’s most comprehensive and advanced. Beginning in 1987, the programme has produced a raft of world champion sailors, as well as America’s Cup, World Match Racing and Ocean Race winners. Further information: www.rnzys.org.nz/ytp/

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