Ben's Buzz - February 2020


Hi everyone

It's been great catching up with so many of you over the past month at the RYA Training Conference and Regional Instructor Training Day, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of you at our forthcoming Winter Club Development Sessions too (more on those later...)

Hopefully those of you that attended the RYA Training Conference over 1-2 February took away some ideas to try to implement at project level and put into your action plans for the year? 

I know that was definitely the feedback from the Instructor Training Day at Rutland on Saturday 8 February. With just over 100 folks there, we certainly had a lucky escape from Storm Ciara! An 'official' feedback email is going out. But I've heard positive things so far, especially about some of the breakout sessions and how useful it was having a refresh and challenging thinking ahead of the season.

I talked a lot about the potential of days like this for networking and used the example of Toddbrook, who, through building relationships with other local clubs, are able to carry on sailing and doing training while their water is out of action. That's about people not skills, but it's just as valuable.

One delegate emailed me after and said: "It’s quite invigorating to be caught up in the general enthusiasm of the whole event and the involvement of the smaller groups." That hits the nail on the head for me, so thanks everyone who made it such a great day, and to Ciara for staying away until Sunday!

Getting race ready for the new season

We all know the better racing is run, the more enjoyable it is for everyone. That's why our RYA Midlands Race Officials team are busy over the winter helping clubs upskill volunteers and race officials before the new season kicks off in earnest.

The team have been visiting clubs and hosting tailored, fun and informative rules sessions (evening or after racing), sharing their expertise and experiences with committees and members. They also advise clubs on rules changes, (especially post Olympics), recruiting and training race officers, judges and umpires, and improving race management. If you'd like a session at your club drop the team a line here.

Then on Saturday 21 March, the Midlands Race Officials Conference takes place at Ogston SC, Derbyshire. I'll be there, talking about how racing fits into achieving our overall regional participation objectives, while other hot topics being discussed include ways to start and finish races, the problem of Rule 42, encouraging more protests and race management training. This event is for anyone, whether already RYA qualified or interested in qualifying. The full agenda and booking information is here - RYA Midlands Race Officials Conference

Discover Sailing sign up

If you've not signed up for Discover Sailing yet there's still plenty of time to register your event to inspire people to give sailing or windsurfing a go this summer.

All the information you need to get started is here - Activator Sign Up
and Event Details
 - but although the first resources deadline has passed you can register your event to be promoted through the RYA website and to get PR support from your regional communicator.  

Summer shows - the place to get seen!

Lots of you will personally enjoy attending local county shows and festivals over the summer. But did you know our RYA Midlands team are always out in force at events across the region promoting our sport and clubs? And you could be part of it!

If you want to spread the word about your club and what you offer you're invited to get involved in the shows the RYA has a stand at. All that's required is your club puts forward volunteers to help on the stand over the weekend. You can use the platform to promote your club and will also help to get the message out there about why sailing is such an incredible activity for anyone to get involved in.

The shows the RYA Midlands team plan to have a stand at are...

If you would like to showcase your club and help support these events, contact Steven Tinsley, Chairman of the Midlands Regional Volunteer Team, at

If you're up for giving a bit more back to your sport in the region, there's the chance to get involved in the wider Regional Volunteer Team too. The Midlands AGM is taking place on Monday 30 March and representatives of all clubs are invited to attend and provide nominations for the positions of Chair, deputy Chair, Secretary and Treasurer and up to ten standing members of the Regional Committee. For full details and to nominate, here are the Calling Notice, Agenda and Nomination Form.

Few other reminders

The first of the four winter Club Development Sessions get underway on Thursday 13 February at Bartley SC. The three topics being covered at each are...

  • How can your club attract more people with a more considered 'new member journey'?
  • How could your club benefit from running female specific sessions?
  • What can your club do to retain more members?

The details and agenda can be found here - Midlands Club Development Sessions - so get registered and take advantage of the insight and ideas sharing. 

What are your challenges and where are your opportunities? Boating is a volunteer and club-based activity so it’s imperative we all better understand these to provide and access the best possible support.

The RYA Strategy Engagement Toolkit will help you do just this, and capture conversation about the future. There are different versions for whatever you want to get out of it and all the information you need is here - RYA Strategy Engagement Toolkit.


Looking ahead, if you've not got the British Youth Sailing Regional Championships in your diaries yet they will be at Rutland SC on 26-27 September.

There will be three opportunities for sailors of all levels to get involved again - in the Championship, Regatta and OnBoard fleets - and you should start thinking about how you could get a team of sailors along representing the club across the different fleets. We will look more at this soon but it's definitely worth getting on your radars now.

Also if you're heading to the RYA Dinghy Show on 29 February - 1 March I'll be around the RYA Stand and it would be brilliant to meet or catch up with those of you at the show.

It's going to be a busy month! 

Have a good one,