Ben's Buzz - May 2020


Hello everyone

Hope you�re all keeping safe.

Although we�re not able to get afloat at this time, it�s been great to hear our Midlands community continues to shine in their efforts to work together and support the people who, like us, love being on the water.

The RYA team, locally and wider, have been working on making sure you and your members feel supported and engaged through this period, while we�ve now started thinking about how we might get activity started when restrictions begin to ease.

As frustrating as it�s been, I think it�s obvious why it�s so important we�re all doing our bit. Equally I think we all now understand that even when lockdown measures start to be relaxed, it�s not going to be back to �business as usual� straightaway. Questions have started to be asked about what that might look like in practical terms for sailing clubs and centres. In all honesty, we don�t know yet.

But we are starting to think and talk about it as a wider RYA team, and in the coming weeks we will start to communicate with you all as to the sorts of questions you will have to ask and the actions you might have to take before you start a likely phased approach to opening your doors again.

Virtual reality

We might not be on the water, but that doesn�t mean there isn�t plenty of sailing-related activity still going on across the region.

People and clubs have gone genuinely mad for e-Sailing, which has been brilliant see across social media. Some 25 clubs have been hosting events as part of the RYA eSailing Spring Club Championship. Now I�m delighted to reveal the qualifiers from these �heats� will do battle at the Regional Finals on Saturday 16 May, to earn the right to represent the Midlands at the National Final on 30 May.

Even if clubs and groups haven�t been involved in the Championship, many have still been running their own e-racing. It�s been a brilliant and important way to bring and keep people together; I�ve even set up races for our regional team of inspectors, coaches and trainer as a bit of fun, and some of them aren�t even sailors!

Online Club Development Forums launched

The RYA�s Coronavirus Hub has become the �go to� place for clubs, centres and associations needing guidance on anything Covid-related, from legal and financial advice to insurance and Training Centre and Instructor implications. The Financial Planning Toolkit�is proving particularly valuable to clubs right now.

But sometimes it helps to chat things through and hear how others are weathering the same storm. So, on Monday 11 May (3.30pm) we will host the first of four new weekly Online Club Development Forums to bring the region�s clubs together online to discuss some of the key issues currently affecting clubs.

This first forum is on 'How can we safely return to sailing when lockdown is eased?',�and we want you to join and share what your club�s been doing, what�s worked and hasn�t. The second forum will be on 'How can your club engage with members during lockdown?'�and the third on 'How can we manage the financial impact of Covid-19 on our clubs?'�You can register for the forums here -�Midlands Club Development Forums

These are very much�your�forums. I�ll host and advise as to where the RYA can provide support, but the main learning is going to come from you. You�re the ones adapting and navigating your ways through this so have the most valuable insight. To get the most out if them, before the forums think about what you�ve done so far, what challenges you�ve faced and/or are facing and ask yourselves if there�s more you could be doing.�

We already know of clubs applying for some of the new emergency funding pots that are available, such as Sport England�s Community Emergency Fund,�so if this is an avenue you�re looking to go down, get the date for the third forum in your diary now.

Have you completed the Covid-19 survey?

A short survey was sent out to all RYA club contacts recently to understand what challenges clubs are facing now and where they need support. If you�ve not yet completed yours please do as they are already making a difference. Of the handful I�ve had back so far, I�ve been able to support two clubs apply for funding they didn�t know they could access.

Some issues I may be able to help with straightaway, while others will contribute to the bigger picture of the areas clubs might need support with after this is all over. If you�ve not yet had your survey email me at

#SailFromHome online

Whatever you love, you can now #SailAtHome online thanks to the RYA�s new programme of videos, �top tips� tutorials and webinars. The RYA YouTube Channel�is the place to #SailFromHome. All the content is colour-coded and organised into playlists to make it quick and easy to find what you�re most interested in.

For club development advice, the ClubZone�playlist is where to head, while there�s plenty of keep the kids busy and engaged with OnBoard #SailSmarts. But there is tonnes more. Get the full schedule of what�s on when and for whom here.

Keep talking

One of the things I mentioned in April�s blog was how clubs were finding ways to use online video conferencing to manage club business and meetings, with many reporting communication within the club was better than ever. I�m really interested to see if and how this continues once we�re back face-to-face, as I think there�s been some extremely valuable learning about what is possible that we shouldn�t lose.

Please keep talking to each other, to me and to the rest of the Midland team, including the Regional Volunteer Team. This is a proper team effort and we really are all in it together.

Stay safe,