London and South East blog April 2020


Please keep up to date with all the latest news by following us on Facebook and Twitter, and visit our regional website 

Sport England is making up to £195 million of funding available to help sport through coronavirus.

Based on the Government’s advice and guidance on the developing situation the RYA has suspended all RYA organised events, instructor courses and revalidations until at least 31 May – this date will be regularly reviewed. This also includes Discover Sailing events.

We now have a hub for Coronavirus news and guidance.This hosts the RYA’s advice across all of our activities, e.g. advicefor clubs, training centres, athletes, recreational boaters, surveyorsetc.

In order to ensure we have adequate staff cover when the current crisis begins to settle, the decision has been made that all RYA staff will be on mandatory leave entirely for a 2 week period from the afternoon of 3 April through to the morning of 20 April. This will ensure that we have adequate cover later in the year to service your needs when the peak of this crisis has passed. During this time we will have cover in place to support clubs and centres with urgent issues. If you do need such support please contact This email will be monitored over this 2 week period.

If your club or centre are badly impacted by Covid-19 please contact Gareth Brooks We are capturing the details of the organisations that have been badly affected so when more support becomes available from our partners at organisations such as Sport England we can target this support where it is needed most. 

From the Chair

Regional Team Chair Helen Hofmann writes: We are in unprecedented times with Covid-19, so how will our communities bear up to it? What resilience will our clubs and centres show during this time?

A sense of community can still be nurtured through communication, even if not face to face. Newsletters, online courses, e-sailing competitions, chat rooms and other devices can be nurtured to keep the local sailing community connected.

Just as we need teamwork on the water, that teamwork can be put to good use in being a good neighbour during this crisis too - just as we look out for each other doing our sport, we can look out for each other during this time too.

What shall we do now?

Since we can’t go down to the club for a while here are some things you can do from home:

RYA Volunteer Awards 2020 - Do you know a hardworking volunteer who really makes a difference in helping others to get out on the water? Or someone who keeps the club on an even keel? If so, the deadline to make a nomination for the RYA Volunteer Awards has been extended until 01 May 2020.

The ‘Future of Sailing’ webinar series with can be viewed here. Lots of help and ideas for clubs once we’re virus free.

Use Club Zone on the RYA web site - Aware many of you will be trying to up your communication withmembers to keep them engaged don’t forget about the resourcesavailable in Club Zone that we developed with our partners SocialB.

Kids at home? - sign up to the INEOS Stem resources for free - Take a look at the 1851 Trust Stem Crew supported by INEOS TEAM UK’s challenge for the America’s Cup. A free digital education programme for 11-16 year olds.

Through the America’s Cup the Trust wants to inspire as many young people as possible to discover the benefits of regular sailing and club membership, whilst also exploring the opportunities within a professional sports team using science, technology, engineering and maths.

Stay active will help from Sport England stay in work out

Check out financial packages for businesses here

Take online courses - Those who are aspiring dinghy instructors could complete their RYA Safe and Fun course online. The VHF radio course can be done online, albeit with a classroom based exam required subsequently which will need to wait until that's possible.

There are various online navigation courses which can be completed, visit courses online

Club committees - plan that club development project - Those projects you had in mind, or not, and didn’t have time to plan previously. There are a number of resources on the RYA website, the RYA Club Room section, and on the Sport England website to help with this.

DIY, small boat renovations – time for the boat fixing and tuning you didn’t have time for before!

The environmental Green Blue presentation by Kate Fortnam can be circulated to clubs so that club members can view this from home. Contact if you’d like a copy. And take a look at The Green Blue website and have a think about how your club/centre could participate.

Can local sailing clubs become a beacon in the local community by helping to volunteer community help to those in need? Are we looking out for our fellow club members who may be more at risk, work in the NHS, or need some shopping support? Are we being a good neighbour? Perhaps we can become that lighthouse in the storm to help those in need.....

Sailing rules - Plenty of time now to brush up on the rules. Here’s this month’s guidance from regional rules guru Chris Simon. If you’ve any questions for Chris on rules please contact him

Follow our region’s Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and ideas. If any clubs have any info or posts they would like to suggest or share, please contact

March highlights

RYA Musto Regional Youth Awards

These awards celebrate the achievements of young people in the sport whether it’s on the racecourse, volunteering, instructing, coaching or overcoming adversity. They were presented to the regional winners by RYA Chair, Chris Preston, alongside Olympic champion Hannah Mills and her world championship-winning crew Eilidh McIntyre, at the RYA Dinghy Show on March 1. Our region’s winner was Hugo Valentine from Chipstead Sailing Club.

Youth Training Fund Awards

Our region’s Youth Training Fund has made two more awards to young sailors to help them progress their sailing and pass on their experience and enthusiasm to others. They are:

Joanna Leake from Island Barn Reservoir Sailing Club

James Crossley from Island Barn and Datchet Sailing Clubs

Association of Thames Yacht Clubs (ATYC)

Mike and Gabrielle Chambers are stepping down from Chair and Vice Chair at ATYC after many years’ fine service. Mike was also Editor for the ATYC newsletter, here’s the March one. The new Chairman is Tony Riley.

Wishing you all the very best in these unusual times.