Young sailor Ben Tylecote has spoken about his experience competing in the WASZP program at the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix in Plymouth.

Ben, who is a member of the Rutland Sailing Club and has been sailing from an early age, had sailed in the WASZP ‘on and off’, but never raced in the boat before the event.

The result was the opportunity to ‘learn a lot and hang out with loads of new people,’ he says.

“The WASZP is exciting and a new experience, and I’m definitely still learning from the coaches and the other sailors,” he said. “It’s is a great opportunity and I’m very glad I got to come.”

Following racing, Ben and the rest of the WASZP participants had the opportunity to watch the F50 fleet race from the water.

“We were out there watching the racing really close up from the RIBs and they were literally tacking right beside us - it was definitely not your everyday sailing experience.”

As part of the WASZP racing program, participants were taken on an exclusive tour of the ‘pit lane garages’ where the athletes and shore teams prepare the F50s for racing.

“We went on the tech tour and got to talk to a load of sailors including Pete Burling, Blair Tuke, Jimmy Spithill and see a bit of everything.”

Season 3 // Great Britain Sail Grand Prix // Inspire sailor Ben Tylecote

Ben opened up about how sailing became even more important when he was diagnosed with cancer at age 14. Despite being warned off sailing due to his weakened immunity, Ben couldn’t stay away from the water for long.

“After a couple of months I wanted to go back to it because I enjoyed it and it meant I could see my friends,” he said. “At the highest level, sailing is obviously very physical, but at the lower level it can be a bit more of a casual thing, which meant I could keep sailing.”

For this reason, Ben plans to continue sailing into his adult life. “My parents have instilled in me that sailing is a sport for life so I’ll keep racing,” he said. “My goal will always be to compete with the best people around.”