It�s been a busier summer than we could have imagined just a few weeks ago and I�m hoping you have all had a chance to enjoy the camaraderie of your clubs on the water and on shore.
I�ve found it really inspiring to see so many clubs getting back on the water and running a variety of activities for their members, including providing some much-needed fun and freedom for our junior sailors.
Throughout the summer holiday period I�ve noticed quite a few kids courses going on, which is an impressive return to the water for training considering that not long ago we were still in the �not doing anything� position because of Covid-19. In fact we�ve ended up with quite a lot going on!
I�ve seen some really good pictures on Facebook of club activities and managed to drop into a junior training day run by Toddbrook SC at their temporary home of Errwood SC, which has been hosting the club since it�s reservoir dam wall collapsed last year. It�s great to see our sailing community helping each other out like this and there were lots of kids making the most of some quite breezy conditions, then doing some ropework on shore, which I somehow got roped into and tangled up in!
It was a classic case of smiley kids at a sailing club. To see kids out socialising and sailing and having a real good time - after months when they weren�t able to go to school or play together - was brilliant. A big thank you to all the clubs who are able to make sessions like this happen in these difficult times.
I�ve spoken to a lot of clubs now about how they�ve returned to activities and training so if your club would like any support with this please do get in touch.�Remember there is also lots guidance available for clubs wanting to restart activities via the RYA Return To Boating�hub.
Calling all junior sailors!
The enthusiasm of our young sailors in the region has seen more than 50 Optimists and Toppers�already entered for the British Youth Sailing (BYS) Regional Junior Championships for the Midlands, which will be taking place at Draycote Water SC on Saturday 26th September.
Entries are open here�and the results will count towards selection for the new BYS Regional Training Groups�so I�d urge junior sailors to take part if they want to apply for this exciting new RYA programme, which will be providing local coaching for up and coming talent over the winter months. Windsurfers from the Midlands region are invited to sign up for their event on 19th September at Burton SC here.�
This year�s annual celebration of junior sailing will again have an OnBoard Fun Fleet�with a special venue for this in the Midlands at the Andrew Simpson Centre Birmingham, at Bartley, also on Saturday 26th September. Please do encourage juniors and parents at your club to enter as it�s a great opportunity to give younger or less experienced OnBoard sailors a chance to sail at a different venue, make new friends and develop their skills � it�s just �25 to enter and the centre is providing Optimists and Picos so you don�t even have to take your own boat!
The OnBoard Fun Fleet really is a perfect first event for young sailors who may not have travelled before and we make it lots of fun! Last year it was really breezy but our OnBoard fleet with the least experienced sailors was out with big smiles, using bin bags as sails, while the championship fleet sailors were still on shore! Rather than racing, we have �games with aims� and there are prizes not for results but for OnBoard character attributes such as teamwork, determination and communication. It�s run by RYA instructors and coaches and thanks to Covid-19, the on the water instructor:participant ratios this year will be 1:5, making it a fantastic opportunity for our young sailors to get some great coaching! You can enter the OnBoard Fun Fleet here.�
Affiliated Clubs Conference: Save the Date!
�This year�s�RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference�on Saturday 21 November 2020 will be online and so quite different to previous years but it does mean you don�t have to drive for a couple of hours on a 100-mile round trip because you can join in from the comfort of your own home! You might also want to think about taking part with some people at your club so you can watch together and share the experience.
The theme will be �a different world with new opportunities� - recognising the challenges faced by clubs in 2020 and the new ideas now emerging for the future - with the headline part of the conference in the morning having an exciting programme of guest speakers hosted by double Olympic gold medalist and broadcaster Shirley Robertson.
You�ll be able to drop in and out of sessions so you don�t have to sit there all day. An online �expo� area with interactive �stands� throughout the weekend will enable clubs to tap into RYA expertise and book time slots to chat with myself or RYA departments such as training and racing. Associated online workshops will then take place at various times the following week to provide clubs with all the latest updates and know-how covering topics ranging from environmental sustainability to growing membership.
I�m hoping the online format will make this year�s event more accessible than ever and give people who can�t usually attend, a chance to take part. Look out for bookings opening later this month - I am looking forward to seeing lots of you virtually for this year�s Affiliated Clubs Conference!
Apply for Sport England funding
A new pot of Sport England funding for clubs has been released this month aimed at projects which can help to increase activity levelsand reduce inequalities.
The RYA is inviting clubs with Sailability and OnBoard programmes to apply for a share of�150,000 worth of funding, with grants of up to �10,000 available for projects which reduce the negativeimpact of COVID-19 by supporting those in lower socio-economic groups, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, disabled people and those with long-term health conditions.
There is a relatively short window for applying with a deadline of 21st September 2020. For all the details, application criteria and forms, visit�RYA Tackling Inequalities Funding.
Farewell to Karenza � hello Paula!
This month sees our Regional Communicator Karenza Morton moving on to take up an exciting new role as communications manager for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. I personally along with the regional team and many of you at clubs across the Midlands will really miss Karenza. On behalf of RYA Midlands I�d like to say a huge thank you to Karenza for all her hard work in supporting the region over many years.
Taking over as our RYA Midlands Regional Communicator will be Paula Irish, who some of you may know through her home club Draycote Water SC or from previous occasions when she has covered stories for RYA Midlands. A warm welcome to Paula, who will now be here to support clubs with regional press and communications and like Karenza, will be pleased to hear all your news! You can find Paula�s contact details here.�
Last call for Club of the Year!
Applications for the 2021 RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Awards�will close at 9am Monday 21st September 2020. Could your club be a winner?There will be a finalist for each RYA region plus two wild cards, alongside special commendations in the following categories: Heart of the Community; Modern and Innovative; Sustainability; Inclusive and Open to all; and Boosting Membership.
The Midlands has some brilliant clubs and it�s a great way to earn recognition both regionally and nationally, as found by this year's regional finalist Draycote Water SC, so please do have a think about what makes your club special and consider entering for your chance to be in the spotlight!
An inspector calls
Finally, if you�re an RYA TrainingCentre, inspections are now live and even if you haven�t been running anycourses this year because of the Coronavirus pandemic, it�s important to getthis booked in for your continuing centre recognition.
Please contact yournominated inspector to arrange a date as we�re keen to visit even if it feelslike not much has changed and we just review operational procedures andequipment.Whatever the current position of yourtraining centre, it should be a positive experience because if there�s anythingyou want to know about to get ahead for the coming year, our inspectors are thepeople to ask!
Until next time, safe sailing and enjoy the final weeks of summer.