Firstly, a big thank you to all those who came along to the recent RYA North East Affiliated Clubs Conference. It was great to see so many clubs represented and the feedback has been really positive from the day’s “putting people first” workshops.

There were many ideas shared around the key focus on volunteering, which is such a hot topic and challenge for many venues, with lots of delegates gaining new inspiration for the development of their clubs heading into 2020. It was a reminder once again that we have some incredible clubs in Yorkshire and the North East, with so much hard work going on behind the scenes by flag officers and volunteers.

Among the clubs leading the way is Yorkshire Dales SC, our hugely deserving North East regional finalist for the RYA / Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Award 2020.

The overall winner will be determined by public vote and I’d urge everyone in the region to vote for Yorkshire Dales - the club has gained both RYA Training Centre and RYA OnBoard status in the last year and its volunteers work tirelessly to provide the best possible customer-focused experience for members and visitors alike – whether that’s running quality training and racing, hosting big events, developing grassroots participation or having hot tubs on the patio!

We are lucky to have many venues which go the extra mile and I would encourage clubs to look out for when nominations open again, as it could be yours in the spotlight next year. In the meantime please support Yorkshire Dales SC when voting opens on 13th December by visiting the online awards page – it would be great to see one of our clubs bringing the trophy home when it is awarded at the RYA Dinghy Show!

Recognising our unsung heros

Another opportunity for clubs to make the most of is the RYA Volunteer Awards, which this year saw four recipients from the North East, with Lifetime Commitment Awards for Erica Caswell of Yorkshire Dales SC, Peter Crook of Ellerton Park Scout Water Activity Centre ( North Yorkshire Scouts) and Tony Freeth of Royal Northumberland YC, plus an Outstanding Contribution Award for Tim Wilson of Thornton Steward SC.

We all know of people who give countless hours of their time to the sport and without them so many activities at clubs simply wouldn’t happen. The awards are a good way of showing our appreciation and every club in the region must have someone in their membership worthy of being put forward. Nominations for the RYA Volunteer Awards 2020 are already open so please do have a think about who you’d like to see honoured – it’s a great way to recognise their dedication and say thank you on behalf of your club.

Training dates for your 2020 diary

As we head into the New Year there are a few dates to save and courses coming up, including the RYA Training Conference for coaches and training centre principals. This takes place at Wyboston Lakes in Bedfordshire over the weekend of 1-2 February 2020, with a  brand new programme of speakers and workshops. Booking is now open so be sure to secure your place here.

Following on from our Powerboat Instructor Development Day at Scarborough Sea Cadets in November, giving existing instructors a chance to gain top tips and develop their skills with the regional training team, we are now planning more of these for the coming year.

In the meantime there are a couple of courses in 2020 already available for booking at Welton Waters Adventure Centre near Hull. There will be a Powerboat Instructor course on 30 January (pre-entry skills test) and 25-27 February, followed by an RYA Dinghy Instructor course with a one-day pre-entry skills test on 7 March followed a five-day course over 2-3 and 8-10 May. Visit our page for RYA North East Regional Instructor Courses for details and booking.

For all the latest news about training and events, follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter  @RYANorthEast

Merry Christmas!

Finally, it was great to see an early Christmas present announced for two up and coming young Optimist sailors from the region. Catch up with the full story here about Toby Waggett from Teesdale Sailing and Watersports Club, County Durham, and Olivia Pescod from Pennine SC, South Yorkshire, who have each been awarded a boat for the next two years through the on-going partnership between the John Merricks Sailing Trust and RYA OnBoard. Congratulations!

Wherever you are over the holidays, all of us at RYA North East wish you a Merry Christmas. And of course lots of happy sailing in the New Year!