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Gareth's Gossip - September 

Maintaining enthusiasm over winter, instructor courses, RIB security

Hi all,

As we head into autumn it’s well worth clubs looking at what they can do over the winter months to maintain the enthusiasm of their volunteers and instructors.

It’s a great time to consider all the opportunities available to up-skill your instructors and keep them motivated and at the top of their game.

One event for the diary is an Instructor Training Day at Rutland Sailing Club on Saturday 25 February. It will include an update on changes to the RYA schemes, a key one from January 1 being that there will no longer be a distinction between coastal and inland instructors.

Workshops and practical sessions will cover windsurfing, dinghy sailing and powerboating, and there will be all the latest boats from the trade available on shore or for a sail – including the RS Quest and the Hartley 10, 12, and 15 range – with dealers on hand to discuss club demo days or deals.

The whole day costs just £20 and includes lunch. For further details about how to book your place nearer the time, watch this space, and keep the date free in the meantime!

Club-based instructor development days

Another option is for clubs to look at holding their own Instructor Development Day, bringing in an outside coach to help instructors look at what they do and see how it can be improved upon; it creates a fun environment for learning and gives your instructors renewed enthusiasm for the coming season. 

A coach may cost around £150 for the day but there could be funding for this from your local County Sports Partnership, and it is a relatively small re-investment for clubs to make in their volunteers and instructors for the potential benefits. It’s also a great way of thanking your instructors for their work and showing how valued they are by your club.

Shropshire SC organised its own instructor training day in March, with RYA support, using the same format as the RYA’s regional Instructor Training Day, and inviting in Mark Lind, an RYA Dinghy Coach and Powerboat Trainer, and Matt French, a Senior and Advanced Instructor on the RYA Midland Aspiring Coach programme. 

Club Training Principal John Ridgers, who organised the day, set out the session requirements he wanted Mark (powerboat) and Matt (the third sail - spinnaker) to cover, with 13 club members who were either AIs, DIs or SIs split into two groups, one group working with Mark, the second group with Matt, and swopping around after lunch.  Course elements included latest advice on quick and effective resolutions to entrapment situations, coaching tips on rigging and sailing with conventional and asymmetric spinnakers, and instructing styles and techniques.

“Having these clear aims made the day so much more worthwhile to all who attended,” says John. “All thought it was an excellent day and I'm hoping to repeat the event again next year albeit with different elements from the RYA syllabus. Having two very experienced external coaches meant that the RYA's current thinking and best practice were demonstrated and practised by us in the respective sessions.”

Need more instructors?

If your club needs more instructors for the year ahead, why not run an Assistant Instructor or your own Dinghy, Windsurf or Powerboat Instructor course? Lots of information on how to set up an instructor course is available here.  The instructor courses running in the region that I am aware of are listed here.

It’s also a good time for your club’s RYA Dinghy Instructors aged over 18 to give some thought as to whether they might want to become an RYA Senior Instructor.  I have setup two Senior Dinghy Instructors courses for the winter: Chelmarsh SC on 12-13 November and Aztec Adventure, Upton Warren, on 26-27 November; plus Girton SC on 26-27 November and Rutland SC on 2-3 December. The cost is £225 per person. Look up the details regarding the course pre-requisites and application form and once this has been done you can book online for a place. 

I am in the process of setting up a couple of Advanced Dinghy instructor courses and Racing Instructor courses that will run over the winter period so keep your eyes on our webpage that lists all instructor courses taking place in the region here.

Strengthening security

I’ve heard a couple of reports over summer where clubs have had unwelcome intruders messing about with equipment. Although thefts are rare, a good scheme to remember, which is available with a 25% discount as part of your RYA membership, is the DATATAG Outboard Motor Theft Deterrent System.

This electronic identification system is designed to act as both a powerful deterrent against theft and aide to recovery in the event of a loss by giving your outboard motor a unique "fingerprint" for the police and your insurers.

And finally...

It’s been a great summer with the Rio Olympics and the Paralympic sailing providing a wonderful inspiration to all of us to make the most of the sport we love – and share it with those who may not have tried sailing before.

Hundreds tried sailing for the first time during the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics at a whole variety of open days thanks to Midlands clubs and their dedicated volunteers. We can all now look forward to building on that enthusiasm for the future.

Happy sailing!

Gareth.

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