We’re seeing lots more activity than we’ve had for some time now, which is brilliant!
Lots of clubs and centres are starting to make forward-looking plans and pick up projects that have been put on hold and as we emerge from the restrictions of the pandemic, there are plenty of good news stories coming in from around the region.
There are still a few pockets of lower activity, as some venues have been waiting for the next easing of social distancing restrictions to make one-to-one interactions easier, but the overall picture as regards getting on the water is very positive.
When I emailed clubs recently I had about 20 replies telling me about the good level of demand from new members and for courses and hopefully following the government’s latest announcements that will continue to be the case. These stories from across the region were great to hear.
A growing number of clubs are now requesting planning meetings with me because they’re starting to think about what the future may hold and that’s a really good sign.
I’ve been enjoying getting out and about to visit clubs again and if you would like to get in touch about a project or set up a development meeting with either myself or one of the region’s Sailing Development Officers, please do get in touch as we’d love to hear from you.
RYA Club Census
It’s that time of year again when we’re asking for RYA Club Membership Census returns.
This is the most important survey we ask of people and it’s gone out to last year’s responder from each club. However, if your club hasn’t seen it yet please email me and I’ll get a link sent out to you.
It’s well worth taking the time to complete the census because it’s helpful both to us as an organisation and to clubs, who receive their own individualised report with valuable insights for flag officers and committee members.
The census provides a stock take on the health of the sport in terms of membership so we can tailor RYA support and enables us to look at historical trends to see how things are changing and what might need revisiting.
For clubs, it can help to highlight opportunities for development or to grow membership. For example, the census has previously identified clubs with notably fewer female or family/junior members, leading to projects which have helped them to be more appealing both to new members and to partners and children of existing members.
We’ve starting to get in a few census returns already and some are showing reasonable membership growth not only on last year but also compared with pre-Covid numbers.
We really appreciate the time people spend filling in the census and if anyone needs help please ask me and I’ll do what I can to support you. Every club has also been allocated a member of the regional team who is available to help - look out for an email with details of your nominated team member.
For instructors looking for work, there are a few centres seeking staff to join their instructor team on a sessional basis or on contract for the busy July and August period.
Keep a look out on the RYA Midlands Instructors group on Facebook and we’ll do our best to circulate any opportunities. Clubs and centres also post directly to the group so if you are an instructor, be sure to join this group if you haven’t already as it’s a great platform for finding out what’s going on in the region.
RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference
This year’s RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference will be a hybrid event and in addition to the national online part of the conference on the evening of Monday 8th November 2021, I can now confirm that the Midlands venue will be Whitemoor Lakes, an RYA Recognised Training Centre and activity centre near Lichfield in south Staffordshire, on Sunday 28th November. I am very much looking forward to reconnecting with friends, colleagues and clubs from across the region and to seeing lots of you in person this year as well as virtually!
Youth & Juniors
The British Youth Sailing (BYS) Regional Junior Championships will be taking place at Carsington SC over the weekend of 25th-26th September 2021, with OnBoard, Regatta and Racing fleets and new for this year, Sailability. We’re looking forward to a fantastic inclusive festival of all that’s great about junior sailing in the region, so look out for when entries open this summer and please encourage parents at your club to save the date!
There will also be a one-day event for windsurfers at Saturday 18th September at Glossop SC. Both this event and the Regional Junior Championships for sailors are a must-do for any aspiring young sailors or windsurfers wanting to be considered for selection to the BYS Regional Training Groups later in the year.
The JMST scheme is now open again for nominations so if your club knows of a deserving junior sailor or windsurfer who would benefit from having their own boat or board, find out more here. Another event for the calendar is the Eric Twiname Youth & Junior Team Racing Championships at Oxford SC, 9-10 October, for which applications are now open.
In the meantime it’s been great to see the various racing circuits for youth and junior sailors across the region which have been seeing great turnouts, including class organised events, the Derbyshire Youth Sailing traveller series and the Northamptonshire Youth Series. Young sailors have been really enjoying taking part in these racing circuits because they are great for all abilities and for building confidence – and lots of fun!
RYA Dinghy Trails
Finally, if you are going away over summer you might want to take a look at the new RYA Dinghy Trails, and either take your own boat or hire one to do some exploring. There are a dozen cruising trails now available including one for Rutland Water if you fancy a day out!
Until next time, I wish you all happy boating as we head towards the summer holidays.