London and South East blog December 2019


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Regional Development Officer Steve Mitchell writes:

November has been an exceptionally busy month for the regional team and the many stake holders as we deliver a range of activity to clubs and watersports across the region; so firstly I would like to say a big thank you to these people who have made this month such a success. 

The LS&E Affiliated Club Conference which ran at the New Line Learning Academy on 24 November saw 51 affiliated clubs and organisations from across the region attend.

Putting People First was the theme and Alistair Dickson, RYA Sport Development Director started the day with an overview of the recent ‘Revealing Realities’ research insight which looks at volunteering and the challenges.

As well as Alistair RYA staff including RYA Chair Chris Preston, legal eagle Mandy Peters, Programmes Manager Michelle Gent, and many of the RYA regional team were on hand to offer help and advice to clubs. Breaks between sessions allowed time for clubs to discuss issues and best practice with them and other clubs, and for refreshments.

Delegates were able to choose three from a range of workshops including “Alternatives to recruiting volunteers from your club”, “How to grow membership by adapting what we offer potential members” and “Developing volunteer management to recruit and retain more volunteers.”

Feedback included this from one delegate: “Well done today, excellent event. It keeps getting better, and the networking is really effective.” 

Some 27 watersport centres attended our Watersport Symposium in November. This one day event supports our centres and looks at key topics around RYA Sport Development programmes, plus developing ideas of how these centres might support their local clubs. Many more clubs are working more closely with their local watersport centre to support growing demand in learn to sail activity, whether the club is an RYA Training Centre or a club that delivers its own ‘in-house’ learn to sail activity.

Putting People First webinar – 5 December 19:00

Is your club one of the 52% who are telling us that a ‘lack of volunteers’ is causing challenges? Or perhaps you have a small number of people at your venue who are doing the majority of the work?

The RYA has just taken an extensive research project to find out why this is often the case and what we can do about it.

We will be sharing these findings from through a ‘Volunteering Webinar’ as well as experiences of clubs who have managed to successfully increase the number of volunteers.

As in our previous webinars, we’ll be joined by an expert panel to discuss the findings and you’ll have the chance to ask questions. If you can’t join us please sign up anyway and you’ll be able to hear the recording after the live show. Register here

We’re looking forward to seeing you at our winter get-togethers:

L&SE Winter Club Development Forums

Ø 11th January – East Berkshire

Ø 19th January – West London

Ø 8th February – Worthing SC

Ø 15th February - Downs SC

For more information contact Steve Mitchell

From the Chair

Our regional team chair Helen Hofmann writes:

Winter is a period for reflection on this year's watersports season and a time to plan and look forward to the coming year. The October AGM saw the existing four officers re-elected to their posts for another year, and Bill Stock elected by the committee to be a representative for personal RYA members in the region. We now have representation across the region and look forward to strengthening this in the coming year. Dan Fox from Brunel University has come on board to represent the University Sailing Clubs while Stuart Philbey has moved across to represent London Youth Sailing, a new position on the committee. We encourage all RYA affiliated clubs and centres to get to know your RYA area representative who is there to help and support you throughout the year. 

Looking ahead, any Commodores or Centre Principals (or their representative) are welcome to attend a general regional meeting on Saturday 18th January 11.30am to 3pm in London when the annual report will be available for review, and when the regional team will start to brainstorm a regional development plan for the following 4 years. If you would like to attend, please let Jane Mills the regional secretary know by emailing

RYA awards and royal presentation for region’s volunteers

11 volunteers from across the London and South East region were presented with some of the RYA's most prestigious awards by HRH the Princess Royal, President of the RYA in recognition of their commitment to their organisations when the annual RYA Volunteer Awards ceremony took place on 22 November.

One of the volunteers, Richard Hayden from Mariners of Bewl receives his Lifetime Commitment Award from HRH The Princess Royal

RYA Club of the Year

Congratulations to Felpham SC on being a finalist for the RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Why not give them your vote and help bring home the award to our region. Voting opens on 13 December, details will be put on Facebook and Twitter.

RYA Youth Awards

Nominations are open for the RYA Youth Awards, previously named RYA Regional Youth Champion Awards. For 2020 and beyond we will not only recognise performance on the race course but will also celebrate achievements within the sport including volunteering and overcoming adversity. So why not nominate that deserving youngster in your club or centre. Nominations close 6 January.

Regional Instructor training

The regional RYA Instructor Training Days are a brilliant opportunity for personal and professional development. With updates from RYA Training and the Regional Development Officers, as well as expert coaching sessions and various on-the-water and shore-side workshops. A chance to engage with top coaches and networking with other instructors in our region. Queen Mary SC 7 March. Please make a date in your diary, booking will open later.

Sailing rules

Here's this month's guidance from regional rules guru Chris Simon gaining right-of-way

What’s on

See what’s on in our region and have your event listed.

November headlines

OnBoard sailors awarded John Merricks Sailing Trust boats

Blowers win match racing grand final at Queen Mary

Reading University team racing event

London Corinthian SC celebrates 125 years

RYA awards and royal appointment for region’s volunteers

Sarah Ayton and Sam Whaley to present RYA Dinghy Show

Symposium for region’s watersport centres

Sailing Rules – November – changing course

Boat licence fees revealed for 2020

Association of Thames Yacht Clubs (ATYC)

Here’s the November newsletter from ATYC.

Regional fleets

We have a regional fleet of Oppies, Teras and Fevas available to support your youth training, racing, and club cadet regattas. Find out more

We hope to see you on the water soon.