The RYA has unveiled plans to reinvigorate junior racing in the UK by placing more emphasis on regional training and club racing – it’s the biggest single overhaul of the programme since its inception 20 years ago!

It will see the current system of under-16 National and Zone Squads replaced with Regional Training Groups (RTGs) from autumn 2020. There will be an RTG for the North, delivering national-level coaching regionally to give young sailors with the skills they need to transition into youth classes, and for the most able, prepare them for international competition.

The aim is to address the challenges facing the sport, including declining participation at club level, increasing regional disparity, an over-emphasis on results in junior age groups and the increasing costs and environmental impact of training and racing nationally at a young age.

Clearly it is a big change and feedback so far in the region indicates that it is a welcome one but please get in touch  if your club has any questions. Further information is available here.

In the meantime, save the date for the North British Youth Sailing Regional Junior Championships in your diaries. This year the event will be at Ullswater YC on 26-27 September and, once again, will provide something for all ages and abilities with OnBoard Fun, Coached Regatta and Championship fleets providing a real festival of junior sailing.

Another event for the calendar is the 2020 North East Youth Championships – also known as The Big One! – which will be back at Yorkshire Dales SC over the weekend of 7-8 November with racing for 420, 29er, RS200, RS Aero and Laser classes. Further details will be out soon.

Congratulations to our RYA award winners!

It was great to see so many awards going to clubs and sailors from across the North East at the RYA Dinghy Show!

Yorkshire Dales SC was on the main stage as our finalist in the RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Awards, recognised for the  “drive and innovation” of its members. Find out more about what makes this club special here and note that nominations for next year’s Club of the Year Awards will open again in August 2020, so have at think about entering your own club - we have lots of fantastic clubs in the region and next year it could be yours in the spotlight!

A big well done also goes to the University of Sheffield Sailing Club - leading the way in environmental good practice with the support of their home water Pennine SC and collecting their bronze award in The Green Blue University Sailing Sustainability Challenge.

There was also an award for Rebecca Finlay of Derwenthaugh Sea Cadets in Newcastle - our RYA North East Regional Youth Champion in recognition of the countless volunteer hours she gives as an RYA Dinghy Instructor to help other young people get on the water. A fantastic role model, well done Rebecca!

Calling all OnBoard centres!

Another award now coming up for young people is the Panerai Challenger Trophy, which recognises outstanding individuals who have embraced the power of sailing or windsurfing to achieve a personal triumph that inspires us all and to recognise and reward the OnBoard clubs or centres which have made this possible. 

If you’re an OnBoard club or centre, please please take a look at this incredible award. Last year we were lucky enough to have a runner-up from the North East, with James Catterall of Derwent Reservoir SC winning £2,500 to further his own sailing and £5,000 for his club after being shortlisted for the award. Nominations for this year are now open here. Don’t miss out!

Still time to sign up for Discover Sailing

As the nights get lighter it’s a reminder that the new season will soon be with us along with the new Discover Sailing campaign, which replaces Push the Boat Out for clubs wanting to run open days as part of the RYA’s promotional work to get more people on the water.

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 register and get your order in, with a fantastic range Discover Sailing branded kit available to support your promotion. The RYA is making an £80 contribution to each resource pack and all the details you need can be found here.

Latest courses

As ever we have a range of dinghy and windsurfing instructor courses available to book online in the North East region, including a couple of Start Windsurfing Instructor Courses coming up at Welton Waters Adventure Centre near Hull, 20-22 and 28-29 March, and later in the year at Yorkshire Dales SC, 24-28 October.

There are Dinghy Instructor Courses at Tees & Hartlepool YC, 25-26 April and 1-3 May, and at Welton Waters Adventure Centre 2-3 and 8-10 May, and for those already qualified who want to hone their skills, a Dinghy Instructor Development Day at Yorkshire Dales SC on 28 March. The club also has an Aspiring Female Dinghy Instructor Development Day  on 4 April to encourage women to consider whether they might like to become an instructor. We’ll have another Introduction to Dinghy Foiling session for instructors at Filey SC on 2 May and if you're looking to get a Powerboat Instructor ticket, there’s a course at Scarborough Sea Cadets, 23-25 October.

There’s always a lot of interest in courses so take a look and be sure to sign up as soon as possible by visiting RYA North East Regional Instructor Courses for all the details and booking.

Club Development Forums

Our first Club Development Forum takes place next month at Whitby YC on 25 April – free for RYA Affiliated clubs and centres and offering a great opportunity for clubs to learn from both the challenges they face and their success stories.

We’ll have two key themes: how to increase satisfaction to reduce membership churn and making the most of club open days to increase membership. But it is the informal networking and sense of community between the clubs on the day that will be perhaps the most valuable part - often clubs have similar issues and sometimes picking up just one or two small tips at a Club Development Forum can make a big difference.

There will also be Club Development Forums at Ripon SC on 16 May and South Shields SC on 20 June, and all of the sessions will run from 10.30am to 2.30pm, lunch included. Book your forum place and come along for a sociable and informative day which will enable you to take new ideas home to your club.

And finally….

We all know people who go the extra mile to make things happen and support activities at their clubs and centres - before the end of the month please have a think about nominating for this year’s RYA Volunteer Awards, which are a great way to say thank you and officially recognise those whose dedication makes a real difference to the sport. The deadline for nominations is Friday 3 April and all the information you need is here.

Remember to keep up with all the stories from across the region until next time @RYANorthEast on Facebook and/or Twitter

Happy sailing!