Sailing celebration for youngsters at East Sussex OnBoard Festival
East Sussex OnBoard Festival
Eighteen children from the Eastbourne and Hastings area gathered last Thursday (13 September) for the annual East Sussex OnBoard Festival at the Spray Watersports Centre on the Eastbourne seafront.
The youngsters, aged 10-15, took part in a celebration of learning to sail when they competed in some fun races in Laser Pico dinghies.
Inspired by a summer of Olympic and Paralympic sailing they also took part in their very own on the water torch relay. The kids had all learned to sail through the Royal Yachting Association’s OnBoard scheme, which introduces youngsters to sailing and windsurfing through schools, clubs training centres and youth groups.
Ten competitors were based at Spray Watersports and another eight were visiting from Hastings & St Leonards Sailing Club. The event started after school and the different races saw sailors standing up, swapping positions and sailing with their legs dangling outwards to windward.
Two races each were won by sailors from each club. However it was Spray who triumphed in the torch relay, where they sailed out to a mark with the torch before returning to shore to hand it to the next pair.
‘I love sailing with my friends and had a great time on the water this evening!’ said Olive, aged 15 from Hastings, as she joined the other young sailors in celebrating after the event. All of the sailors were presented with a certificate and OnBoard goody bag.
“The weather was perfect with a nice Force 3 blowing across the beach,” commented the OnBoard organiser Sam Rowe. “There was a great turn out at the event, and hopefully this will encourage more local OnBoard clubs in the area to get involved next year. A big thank you to the team at Spray Watersports for their time and effort taken to host the event!”
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 or the OnBoard website www.ruob.co.uk