Barton Marine are pleased to present Ralph Hadley as the Barton Rising Star 2024.  Twelve year old Ralph is an up and coming Topper 4.2 sailor.  He has been sailing for three and half years as a cadet at Tankerton, Whitstable and Westbere sailing Clubs, successfully competing against older and more experienced adult sailors.  Ralph is a very worthy winner of the Barton Rising Star Award.

The Barton Rising Star Award is presented to a high achieving young sailor who wishes to progress their sailing career towards a notable goal. The award winner receives support from Barton to help bring their ambition to fruition.  Ralph is keen to become an Olympic sailor and his obvious sailing talent makes this a distinct possibility.

Ralph Hadley Sailing in Weymouth

Attending events across the UK with ITCA and KSSA, Ralph recently raced at the NS2 Winter Championship in Weymouth, placing 3rd overall against a fleet of 31.  Taking every advantage to improve his sailing skills, Ralph has taken part in ITCA training in the Medway to practice tidal racing and recently brushed aside the forecast to race as storm Isla hit the UK.    At the Topper Nationals (NS4) at Whitstable/Tankerton last year, Ralph placed 15th and was awarded a trophy for Most Improved Local Sailor.  He has also won first placed cadet in The Barts Bash at Tankerton and a world position of 90 out of around 1000 sailors.  2023 ended very well, with him picking up Cadet of the Year cup at Tankerton Bay Sailing club.

Alongside competing on the water Ralph enjoys maintaining and improving his boat.  Having bought a hull that had been sailed in previous Topper Worlds, an interest in maintenance and upgrades has been part of his success.  Access to the full Barton range as Rising Star means that any kit required will be readily available going forwards.  

Describing his plans for 2024, Ralph said,

“I have an exciting year ahead continuing to sail at Tankerton Bay Sailing Club, Whitstable Yacht Club and Westbere Lake Club, as well as with the ITCA GBR Squad, at KSSA events and the ITCA Topper National Series events.  I’m really looking forward to competing at the ITCA Worlds in Spain with the GBR Squad, closely followed by the Topper Nationals in Weymouth.  I have my race calendar and it shows me training and racing at least 1 – 2 days a week. 

Sailing is my passion and I want to be the best Topper sailor while working with Barton’s design team to help them develop new dinghy sailing products. I like researching race tactics and spending time working on my boat, as I feel this is a really important part of being a successful competitive sailor.”

Suzanne Blaustone, CEO of Barton Marine said, “Ralph is an outstanding young sailor and his determination to succeed is an inspiration to all of us.  At Barton we are keen to support the industry by doing what we can to encourage the next generation of sailors onto the water and the Rising Star Award does just that.  We look forward to working with Ralph and his family as an ambassador for Barton and the sport of sailing, as he learns and develops over the years ahead.”

Ralph does not come from a sailing background, being the first sailor in his family, however he caught the sailing bug after a trial session in Whitstable.  His inspiration to get on the water came from a love of sailing adventure books and discovering the story of Ellen MacArthur.  Off the water Ralph is an enthusiastic guitarist.  A special mention must be given to Ralph’s family as they are hugely supportive of his passion for sailing.  Barton will be sharing Ralph’s sailing journey over the course of 2024 on their social media platforms and website.  Follow them by heading to 

Suzanne presents Ralph with his award