Record numbers get OnBoard in North Wales
Record numbers of children new to sailing took part in the biggest ever OnBoard Festival in North Wales as the London 2012 effect begins to have an impact on British sport.
Coming just after the end of the Paralympics and Olympics sailing events, where there was the first Welsh sailing medal for 12 years with 470 sailor Hannah Mills winning a silver medal , there was a huge increase in numbers of around two thirds from previous years for the event held in Bala.
There was also several new clubs represented, such as Dovey YC, Penmaenmawr SC, Rhyl YC, taking advantage of the sunshine and wind, making a total of 128 sailors taking part all together.
It was one of the traditional powerhouses of North Wales sailing who claimed the top prizes with Port Dinorwic winning the awards for best OnBoard club and best club overall.
“It was a fantastic occasion and great to see so many people enjoying the chance to experience the delights of sailing,” said Welsh Sailing's North Wales development officer Ruth Iliffe.
“A lot of hard work has gone in across North Wales building up the OnBoard schemes for new sailors, but certainly the extra interest in sport in general and sailing in particular following London 2012 cannot have done any harm.
“There was also the chance to hold a London 2012 torch, thanks to Mari Davies of Pwllhelil sailing club who was one of the torch bearers.
“Whatever the reason it was great to see record numbers taking part and we maintained the Olympics theme by giving medals to the prizewinners.
“It was also the last event for Leah Collis, our North Wales OnBoard development officer and the kids nearly moved her to tears by their reaction and tributes at the prizegiving.”
Tyler Green of Port Dinorwic was the winner in the Optimist OnBoard fleet, winning three of his five races and finishing second in the other two. Llyn Brenig's Corinne Bolton and Elsie Holley were second and third respectively.
Clywedog sailor Charlie Arthur was the top Topper with a race win and two second places, with Ryan Williams of Port Doorway second and Jake Bolton of Llyn Bering third.
It was Port Dinorwic who came out on top in the windsurfing with Josef Round winning the three completed races, ahead of Jordan Lee of Pwllheli.
In the general handicap class there was another Port Dinorwic victory thanks to Jacob Thomas and Dylan Williams, with Llyn Brenig's Loerie Williams and Delilah Chadwick Smith second.
In the main fleets, Phoebe Roberts won the Optimist class ahead of clubmates Elodie Edwards, Williams Jukes-Bennett and Iwan Roberts as it was a top four clean sweep for Port Dinorwic.
Llyn Brenig claimed a one/two in the Topper class with Harry Pulford winning and Jack Shepherd second. Clywedog's Ben Johnson-Rolfe was third.
In the general handicap it was Daniel Whiteley of Port Donorwic and James Clementson of Pwllheli who triumphed, with Sarah Norbury of South Staff and Mari Davies of Pwllheli coming second. It was the same top three in both the OnBoard and main fleet sections with Port Dinorwic claiming gold, Llyn Brenig silver and Clywedog bronze in both categories.
Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres.
Special mention must also be made of Llyn Brenig's Tom Watson, aged six, the youngest competitor on the day.
Over a ten year period OnBoard aims to introduce a minimum of 500,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK, converting over 10% of them into regular participants. So far it’s nicely on track.
For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit the RYA’s website www.rya.org.uk