Some 115 delegates enjoyed the free event, which was aimed at racing and cruising sailors connected with RYA affiliated clubs/associations and training centres.
The day started with RYA Cruising Manager Stuart Carruthers and RYA Cruising Advisor Carol Paddison presenting current cruising issues, include Brexit, with delegates asking some probing questions!
Kent Special Branch also highlighted the importance of the boating community in helping to keep our region safe.
After a break for coffee and networking there was a choice of workshops and talks including Mini Transat solo sailor Nikki Curwen on solo, shorthanded and watch keeping issues, Wayfarer and Albacore champion Mike McNamara on rules of the road and racing rules, and RYA regional development office Steve Mitchell on making the most of boat ownership. Sid French from Eastbourne gave practical insights into successful anchoring with Andrew and Frances Phasey from St.Pancras Cruising Club giving both Tidal Thames and Inland Waterways workshops in the morning and afternoon.
Visitors had a chance to exchange views and experiences over a free lunch, dispelling the myth that there’s no such thing.
In the afternoon Emma Barton, RYA Planning and Environmental Manager, offered an insightful presentation on the topical issue of Environmental Challenges facing Boaters Today. There was a further choice of workshops and talks including Practical Boat Owner magazine’s Dave Selby on getting afloat in small boats, creek sailor Tony Smith on creek and off piste boating, and RYA instructor trainer James Davies on boat handling and berthing in strong currents.
After tea, students from Greig City Academy in London, winners of last year's RYA Endeavour Award, talked about their progress from dinghy sailing to competing in the Fastnet Race, then the day concluded with a panel discussion on “Is foiling the future of sailing?"
RYA regional team chair Helen Hofmann said: ”It was good to see so many clubs and organisations represented at the conference which addressed a wide range of boating topics. Hopefully we can build further on this for the future. Our thanks go to all the presenters who took the time to support this event."
Steve Mitchell added: “We saw an excellent turn out from the many London and South East cruising clubs and organisations and the agenda attracted a very broad range of boaters including motor cruising, inland waterway, small boat river sailors through to individuals interested in yacht racing. "
One happy delegate reported: “It was a fantastic day. A well run, very friendly and most informative event with some great introductions and presentations.”