TV couple Angellica Bell and Michael Underwood joined Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas today (Monday 05 June) to officially relaunch the RYA’s OnBoard programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people from all backgrounds.

At the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre Angellica said: “As a parent I’m always looking for ways to get my children outdoors and active. The best thing about sailing and windsurfing is that they are fun and affordable activities which are available to children of all backgrounds. They also teach valuable and important life skills”.

After having their very first dinghy sailing session just a few weeks ago, she added: “Michael and I had a great time out on the water, the instructor was fantastic despite the fact that we had never done it before. We didn’t even get wet which is a bonus and the children had loads of fun!”

Over the past decade OnBoard has seen more than half a million young people get out on the water and now, 12 years on, educational experts are verifying the life skills and positive attributes that the sport can bring to any child or young person.

As part of the OnBoard relaunch, the team have been working closely with leading educational expert Professor Bill Lucas, Director at the Centre for Real-World Learning at The University of Winchester, to identify how sailing can nurture these character traits and the valuable life-skills which can crossover into all areas of a young person’s life.

The new-look programme will focus on developing six specific character attributes-these are creativity, confidence, teamwork, communication, determination and independence.

RYA Director of Sport Development Alistair Dickson explains: “OnBoard is crucial in providing the foundation for the future of our sport. This new approach enables us to share the real value of sailing with new audiences who may not have considered it as an activity before.

“It is a change in mindset, but it is an exciting opportunity for people to see sailing with all the positive benefits that we know it can provide. We look forward to inspiring even more youngsters of all ages and backgrounds to get out on the water and discover what sailing can offer them” he concludes.

Thank you to all RYA OnBoard supporters and suppliers.

More information about OnBoard and how you can get involved can be found at www.rya.org.uk/onboard

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