Ben's Buzz - March 2020


Hi everyone

Firstly I hope you've all managed to stay safe and unscathed during the recent storms. There have been some pretty impressive photos and videos knocking about on social media of sailors versus the wind.

But at the other extreme, we've seen significant flooding and storm damage across the region, which for some is already causing major operational headaches. If the storms have really affected you, and you have suffered serious flooding, have damaged boats, works on your clubhouse have been impacted, or anything else that is or is going to pose a significant challenge, please get in touch.

I was down at Trent Lock the other day and there was a 60ft narrowboat sat across the towpath, where the floodwaters had lifted it out of the river and subsided to leave it on the bank. If that's someone's Inland Waterways Training Centre, that's a major issue. It might not be that extreme but if you need support from myself or the wider RYA then let me know. 

Canal boat stranded on towpath after flooding at Trent Lock, NottinghamLast call for final Club Development Workshop

Our last Club Development Forum of this winter takes place at Draycote Water SC on Thursday 12 March (7pm) and it would be great to see as many of you as possible make it along from across the region. Due to circumstances beyond our control, unfortunately the sessions at Rudyard Lake and Notts County had to be postponed but there were some really good outcomes from the first forum at Bartley.

Even with a small number of folk, the informal networking and sense of community between the clubs in the room made it a success. I'd go so far to say the learning they took from each other was endlessly more valuable than anything we said on the night!

In that sort of safe environment no-one is afraid to ask 'daft' questions because you often discover someone else has or has had the same issue and the clubs work through it together. It's about the mini successes, the little wins; not the big, headline newsworthy stuff but the small inputs that often make the biggest difference.

The topics being discussed are around new member journeys, running female-specific sessions and retaining members. If you have challenges or want insight around any of these please come along - Midlands Club Development Sessions (Draycote Water SC)

New look for regional junior racing

You might have seen a revamped British Youth Sailing programme will see the current system of under 16 National and Zone Squads replaced with Regional Training Groups (RTGs) from autumn 2020. The aim of this plan is to reinvigorate junior racing in the UK by placing more emphasis on regional and club racing.

Tim Hall, Regional Performance Manager - MidlandsIn the Midlands this will all be overseen by Tim Hall, who joined our regional team last October, and he now adopts the new name of 
Regional Performance Manager - Midlands, which replaces the
former High Performance Manager title. Read the full story here - RYA announces ground-breaking junior racing developments.

If you haven't already, get the date for the Midlands' British Youth Sailing Regional Junior Championships in your diaries. This year the event is at Rutland SC on 26-27 September and, once again, provides something for everyone with OnBoard Fun, Coached Regatta and Championship fleets. Tim is producing an article for March's Midlands Bulletin about how clubs can make this a focus event throughout the whole season, so don't miss it. Entries will open on Wednesday 1 July at

Still time to sign up for Discover Sailing

If you're planning to run a Discover Sailing event between 1 July and 30 September there is still time to register and get your hands on the fantastic range of branding and resources available to support your promotion. 

With the RYA's new 'get involved' initiative running throughout the whole summer, including during the Olympic Games (24 July-09 August), there are heaps of opportunities for your to encourage newcomers to Discover Sailing in 2020.

The deadline for clubs and centres running events before 30 June to order resources has now passed. But if your event is after that date then you have until 27 April to get your order in. The RYA is making an £80 contribution to each resource pack. Everything you need to know is here - Activator Sign Up and Event Details.

Whether you've registered yet or not there is also a free 'How to Promote your Discover Sailing event' webinar on Monday 9 March (7pm) to help ensure your website is ready for your event and to tell you all about what your regional communicator can do to support your event promotion as well as what the RYA does to promote Discover Sailing. Register here - Discover Sailing webinar

Few other bits... 

If you're applying for funding but need a bit more support, the RYA has updated its Sources of Funding Guide and produced Guides on Sport England’s Small Grants and Community Asset Funds. Find all the guidance here - Funding Guidelines  

Those of you who are RYA Training Centres will have by now received an email with the details of your 2020 inspection and Inspector. As someone who's been an Inspector for 20 years, I have a plea - use them!

Inspectors have a huge amount of experience and knowledge so use it as a chance to pick their brains and see if they have any ideas or thoughts on how you could be improving or doing things differently. The best inspections are often more casual and laidback, where the Inspector and Principal communicate on a level. If you see your inspection as an opportunity to get better, you might feel differently about it.

A couple of reminders for forthcoming regional events and application deadlines. 

Finally thank you to everyone that popped over and had a chat at the RYA Dinghy Show, it was great to meet and catch up with so many of you down in London and to hear about your plans for the season.

Until next month...