Ben's Buzz - December 2019


Hi everyone

Firstly thank you to everyone who came along to the RYA Midlands Affiliated Clubs Conference. From my perspective it was great to meet so many folk from different parts of the region.

I’ve met many of you virtually, but it’s the old cheesy thing about putting a face to a name. It is important though and I hope if you see me at an event, for an example, you will feel able to come over and have a chat.

Pleasingly there has been lots of positive feedback about how the day went and the sessions. That’s testament to the team involved in pulling it all together and the delegates for knowing what they really wanted to get out of the sessions.

I popped into a few of the sessions and found people engaged and asking lots of questions, many of which had obviously had a lot of thought beforehand. I hope everyone got to ask the questions they wanted and left with lots of ideas to take back.

Everyone who came along should have received all the slides from the main and workshop presentations. If you've not had them yet email me. In case you missed it, this article - Top takeaways from the Midlands Affiliated Clubs Conference - from November's RYA Midlands Bulletin is worth a read through too. Believe it or not we’ve already started the long range planning for 2020!

Invitation to host the regional fleets

As most of you will know RYA Midlands has seven Regional Fleets of dinghies available for clubs to hire for training and competition. We are now inviting clubs to host the boats for the season.

Hosting the fleets can be a real asset to your club, giving you the chance to work with new groups, pilot new activities or expand your current activities to accommodate more people. Remember, as well as the Toppers and Oppie fleets, there are double-handed Laser Vagos and Laser Bahias, which are ideal for training courses and open days, too.

The boats are owned and managed by the regional team. This means that the boats will be supplied with all the equipment needed to get afloat at your club with a minimum fuss. We ask people to take good care of the boats as you would expect, and it’s as simple as that!

If you have questions regarding the boats available, or think your club could benefit from hosting one of the regional fleets, email Peter at answering the following three questions by the end of January.

1. Which fleet are you interested in hosting?
2. What do you want it for / what is the need?
3. What do you see as the longer-term benefit for your club and/or sailing in general of hosting this fleet?

Instructor Training Day underway

Booking will be opening soon for the Instructor Training Day at Rutland SC on Saturday 8 February. We are just working through and finalizing the programme and all the details will be promoted through the RYA Midlands Facebook and Twitter channels and our RYA Midlands Instructor Facebook group.

As well as all the vital syllabus-specific workshops the day functions for, we’re looking to incorporate a few more cross-discipline workshops to help instructors build their bank of general boating knowledge.

For example, safety and how you and your students use can use the RYA SafeTrx app. This is the sort of thing that can be really useful for students to know exists so they can look after themselves and their families when they’re out on the water, and is relevant to anyone on any course or following any syllabus.


We want every instructor attending the day to feel like each session block has something for them, whether syllabus-specific or more general, so we’re looking forward to revealing what’s in store.

What are your challenges to training instructors – tell us!

For a long time clubs and RYA Training Centres have asked for the chance to express their opinion on challenges they face in training and retaining instructors and/or the perceived barriers to becoming an instructor. Now you have the chance to have your say.

A survey has already gone out to clubs that are RYA Training Centres, and will shortly also be going to commercial centres, so we can start to paint a nationwide picture of what’s happening on the ground. We can then look at if and what strategies are needed to help tackle common challenges or barriers that emerge.

This is your chance to make a genuine difference and we’re looking forward to hearing about your experiences.

As a side note to that, the two Senior Instructor courses we’ve been running have just finished with 22 new SIs now qualified in the Midlands. I know I’ve gone on about this a lot, but it’s so key to being able to deploy courses at our clubs, and clubs training assistant instructors.

We talk about the importance of the instructor lifecycle in getting more people into sailing and it’s just had a big injection in the region. That’s really something worth shouting about.

Winter Forums update

I mentioned in October’s blog about a series of new winter forums to take on some of the key themes that emerged from the Conference in more detail. The dates and locations for these will be confirmed before Christmas so again keep your eye on our RYA Midlands social media channels for details.

We are structuring the days/times to give everyone the chance of getting along to the session(s) most relevant to their club so hopefully we will see as many of you as possible at these.

On that note, it just leaves me to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and see you in the New Year!