Tottenham teenagers win big at Cowes Week after after buying first boat on eBay

  • Christopher and Kai told Duncan Golestani what sparked their love of sailing and how it all began with an eBay bargain

Two teenagers from a school in Tottenham scooped top prizes at the prestigious Cowes Week after their love of sailing began by renovating a boat bought on eBay.

Christopher-Joel Frederick and Kai Hockley picked up the Youth Trophy and young skipper prize in what is traditionally seen as an elitist sport.

But the pair discovered a love of sailing after geography teacher Jon Holt spoke about it in assembly at Greig City Academy in Hornsey and got them going with an eBay bargain.

"At the very beginning we bought a boat on eBay and then the boys did up the boat to make it as fast as possible," teacher Mr Holt said.

"From there they did really well and we started to compete and won one of the first races we did.

"Because they worked so hard and the sailing world could see they were, they got donated two good boats which they went on and won not only three trophies in the Round The Island sailing race but also the trophies in Cowes Week."

Christopher said he was competing against hundreds of boats during Cowes Week including people at the very top of their game.

"There were about 500 boats and we were doing well against Olympians... We’re teenagers and competing against these people!" he said.

Kai said the time and effort the pair put into training helped them clinch the trophies at Cowes, adding: "We put in a lot of training, we are there every weekend whether it’s winter or summer we’re just putting the work in and closing the gap between us and the very top of the sport.

The Greig City Academy said the sport gave pupils lots of life skills beyond learning to sail a boat.

"I’ve run other sports in school before but sailing gives so many different aspects to a person’s life it’s not just trophies," Mr Holt said.

"They’re also gaining qualifications they can use and it can also go into different careers for them.

"It builds teamwork and that kind of thing and they raise money by doing talks to different organisations and they are life skills in themselves," he explained.

Chris and Kai thanked their fellow sailors and competitors who gave them help and advice as they set their sights on more trophies.

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