RYA training conference - be inspired!

2024 speakers and sessions

RYA Training Conference supported by Gallagher

The RYA Training Conference is an annual event for RYA instructors, appointment holders and training centre principals. Here are some of the speakers and sessions expected to take place this year.

An overview of the lessons learnt from recent accidents and incidents

With Capt. Andrew Moll

Captain Andrew Moll, Chief Inspector MAIB, draws on his extensive experience, discussing the lessons learnt from recent accidents and incidents.

About Andrew

After joining the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) in 2005 as a Principal Inspector, Andrew was promoted to Chief Inspector in 2018. Prior to joining the MAIB, he served 27 years as a deck officer in the Royal Navy. Currently, he is a valued member of Trinity House, the Nautical Institute, and a Chairman of Trustees for the Southampton Sea Cadets. Andrew is also appointed as an RYA Powerboat Advanced Trainer.

Preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympics – The city of Marseille

With Simon Rowell

Simon Rowell, Meteorologist for the British Sailing Team talks all things weather and how you can link the forecast to the real-world.

About Simon

Starting as a sailing professional in 1997, Andrew went on to study meteorology at the University of Reading. He worked as a freelance meteorologist, later becoming a meteorologist for the British Sailing Team in the run up to Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics. Since then, Andrew has worked on several notable projects, including the series “The Island with Bear Grylls’ where he provided location forecasts.

Simon Rowell headshot

Simon Rowell

Hannah Cockle

Hannah Cockle

Engaging with your local community through schools and colleges

With Hannah Cockle

Hannah Cockle, RYA OnBoard Manager, shares how RYA centres can link in with local schools and colleges by utilising existing resources and exploring new routes to engagement

About Hannah

As OnBoard Manager at the RYA, Hannah has recently become a Dinghy Coach. She was the RYA Sailing Development Officer in the South Region before working for a charity in the wider sports sector. Hannah came back to the RYA in 2017 and has been developing the OnBoard (junior sailing and windsurfing) programme ever since.

Addressing what it means to be a natural leader in your organisation

With Rachel Griffiths

Rachel Griffiths, Executive Coach from The Natural Leader, aims to explore and reveal the natural leader in you. Natural leaders communicate effortlessly, they can capture and hold the attention of their audience moving them into action.

About Rachel

As a co-founder of Reputation Consultancy, Rachel spent ten years advising large corporations, their leaders, and their teams to form and maintain healthy personal and working relationships. Her clients include the Guardian, Lloyds Banking Group, Facebook, Oxfam, Unilever, NHS, and many more. Today, she remains a media spokesperson on the topic of reputation, featuring on Sky News, BBC World, the Washington Post and Financial Times.

Update on digital first navigation

With Victoria Jacobs and Craig Burton

Craig Burton, RYA Training Resource Manager & Victoria Jacobs, RYA Shorebased Manager, deep dive into the Day Skipper Shorebased course and how it links to practical courses.

About Victoria

Victoria is our Shorebased Manager and has held various roles within RYA Training over the past 14 years. Using Victoria’s experience in learning and development, her focus now is on updating the shorebased materials to reflect the RYA’s new ‘digital first’ approach to navigation.

About Craig

Craig joined the RYA training department in November 2010 as the Chief Instructor (Sail Cruising and Shorebased Scheme). In 2013, he moved to a new role of Training Resource Manager to bring the shorebased, eLearning and publications teams closer together and to ensure their output complimented the practical training schemes as they developed.

Hannah Cockle

Victoria Jacobs

Simon Rowell headshot

Vaughan Marsh

Discussing the roles and responsibilities within your RTC

With Liz McMaster and Vaughan Marsh

Liz McMaster and Vaughan Marsh from the RYA Training Team, investigate the different roles in your centre and their skillsets. How does this compare to the RYA qualifications they hold? Who has the responsibilities and liability for the actions of the centre?

About Liz

Liz McMaster is the new Chief Instructor for Dinghy and Windsurfing. Liz has worked in the Water sports industry for 20+ years across a range of centres delivering across the majority of the small boat schemes. The training of Instructors has been a large part of the last 14 years in both the dinghy and Windsurf schemes. 

About Vaughan

Vaughan has been the Sail & Motor Cruising Chief Instructor in the Training Department at the RYA for 10 years.

Trans Inclusion

With Melanie Bartlett 

Melanie Bartlett, discusses, what is ‘trans’? Providing simple guidelines on common terminology and how to better relate to trans people. Melanie will also discuss the common concerns of trans people in the context of RYA training, such as the use of shared facilities and overnight accommodation.

About Melanie 

Melanie is a renowned marine journalist and author of multiple RYA publications. 

Lower carbon options for vessel operation

With Brian Johnson and Phil Horton

Brian Johnson, previously CEO at the MCA and Phil Horton, the RYA’s Sustainability Manager talk about new propulsion methods in use with big and small ships. Also covering ways to decarbonise your training centre boats.

About Brian

Brian graduated in chemical engineering at Cambridge University and worked in ICI for 15 years. Where he did research, technology development, site production management and business restructuring leadership. Most recently, he has been doing interim leadership work in the bio-pharmaceutical sector.

About Phil

Phil is a Chartered Engineer and started his career working for the BBC. He later studied for an Environment MSc and moved to the Centre for Alternative Technology, where he led the development of a 2,000m2 eco-education centre. After working for a renewable energy co-op, he combined his 20 years of work in sustainability with his love for sailing, by joining the RYA.

Small vessel code update

With Niall McLeod and Rob Taylor

Niall McLeod from the RYA Technical Department and Rob Taylor from the MCA deliver an update on the revisions process for the small vessel code.

About Niall

RYA Racing Services Manager, Niall, has led the RYA's Certifying Authority for the past 5 years. He has been Chair of the MCA's SCV Consultation Group and the committee responsible for recommending common interpretations of the code to the MCA. Niall is also the current Chair of the RYA's Safety Management Group.

About Rob

Rob spent 15 years working on the technical aspects of national and international sports governance and Certifying Authority Management before making the move to the MCA. Rob became the Code Vessel Lead in June 2020. He now focuses on the review of regulations and codes of practice for small commercial vessels including workboats and those used for sport and pleasure.

Simon Rowell headshot

Niall Mcleod

Hannah Cockle

David Mellor

Together on Water strategy and annual update

With Richard Falk 

Richard Falk, RYA Director of Training & Qualifications speaks about the RYA’s new Together on Water strategy. 

About Richard Falk

Richard looks after the leisure and small commercial vessel training network, along with the publications department that supports it. A very experienced cruising and racing sailor, he has extensive knowledge of the small commercial vessel sector and all forms of boating.

Using feedback to support and encourage learning

With David Mellor

Led by Dave Mellor, the RYA’s Coaching Development Manager, this session takes a deeper dive into feedback and how we can use it to support learning.

About David

David’s background is in PE teaching and dinghy racing. Since 2011, he’s been the RYA Coaching Development Manager. His main responsibility is developing all the coaches that the RYA use for the British Sailing Team and various Youth & Junior squads. As well as helping to lead the RYA Race Coach programme.

Simon Rowell headshot

Andrea Gates

Hannah Cockle

Katie Louciades

What does safeguarding look like in a modern training centre

With Katie Loucaides and Andrea Gates

Katie Louciades and Andrea Gates from RYA Safeguarding, discuss policies, procedures & people. Understand how safeguarding has changed and how to ensure that your centre takes a modern approach to its safeguarding and welfare responsibilities.

About Katie

As safeguarding and Equality Manager, Katie has reignited the RYA’s passion and determination for making boating accessible and inclusive to all. She has created, launched, and delivered on the new RYA Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy: “Charting an equal, diverse, and inclusive course for the future of boating”. 

About Andrea

Andrea Gates leads the daily operations of the safeguarding team, supporting Katie to ensuring the RYA delivers on its safeguarding action plan. Andrea has previous experience in safeguarding as the lead for three indoor leisure centres. She also has a keen interest in mental health and wellbeing, striving to raise awareness of it in sailing. 

Understanding GRP boat maintenance and repairs

With Andy Sutton

This session, led by Andy Sutton from Access Composites gives an overview of what the materials are beneath the surface of the gel coat. Offering advice on when to do repairs yourself vs when to call in a professional.

About Andy

Andy runs Access Composites Ltd, an engineering training company supporting the growth of composite materials. He has worked in a wide range of composite sectors but most notably marine, aerospace, F1 and automotive carrying out jobs from manufacturing, design, and technical support.

Hannah Cockle

Andy Sutton

Simon Rowell headshot

Myles Farnbank

How connecting with our blue spaces can enhance our boating experience

With Myles Farnbank

Myles Farnbank offers his knowledge and shares a range of techniques to potentially deepen our connection with the blue realm through our experiences afloat. He will discuss ecology, cultural history, folklore, native language, poetry and more.

About Myles

Myles currently works at the University of Cumbria based in the outdoors studies department. Also, working as a freelance Consultant, Trainer, and Guide. He is an experienced wilderness guide with many years of sea kayaking, canoeing, sailing, and mountaineering in some of the world’s wildest places. He is committed to the principles of ecotourism contributing positively to communities and wildlife in the places that he works.