British Sailing Team banner saying 'we're staying at home, so should you'At a time when we’d normally be gearing up for a busy season of open days and training and looking forward to lots of racing and events, everything has been put on hold amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Based on the Government’s advice and guidance on the developing situation the RYA has temporarily suspended all RYA organised events, instructor courses and revalidations until at least 31 May, a date which will be regularly reviewed. This sadly also includes Discover Sailing events but I remain hopeful that when activity is able to resume, there will be a real appetite for people of all ages to get on the water.

In the meantime, in order to ensure we have adequate staff cover when the current crisis begins to settle, the decision has been made that all RYA staff - including myself and the whole of the North East regional team - will be on mandatory leave for a 2 week period from the afternoon of 03 April through to the morning of 20 April.

This will ensure we have adequate cover later in the year to service your needs when the peak of this crisis has passed. During this enforced break we will, however, have cover in place to support clubs and centres with any urgent issues. If you do need such support please contact RYA Sport Development  who will be monitoring emails over this 2-week period.

If your club or centre is badly impacted by Covid-19 please contact me. We are capturing the details of organisations that have been badly affected so when more support becomes available we can help to target it to where it is most needed. Sport England recently announced it will be making up to £195 million of funding available to help the sport and physical activity sector - not only to come through this crisis but to be in a position to thrive again in the future. You can find more details about this here.   

Please keep an eye on the RYA Covid-19 hub pages for all the latest updates.

Engaging members

It’s been great to see that so many of you have been working hard to keep up your communication with members and promote engagement since the lockdown began.

Remember that we have resources available in Club Zone to support RYA affiliated clubs and centres with marketing and communications, developed with our partners SocialB. Take a look at these in case there are any fresh ideas you can use.

You may also want to remind your members that the free Virtual Regatta game is a great way to keep racing, with both inshore and offshore eSailing! A number of clubs in the North East have also signed up for a VIP membership pass to Virtual Regatta – including Filey, South Shields and Sunderland – using it to great effect to keep running their weekly racing. Find out more about eSailing here

There’s also an app called Zoom which is enabling some clubs and classes to keep in touch via virtual get-togethers, which is free for meetings of up to 40 minutes for up to 100 participants.

It’s even possible to still hold an AGM, as demonstrated by Delph SC in the North West, which used electionbuddy.com to run its meeting online when faced with the prospect of no-one being able to attend due to social distancing rules. Check out how they did it here. It worked so well that Delph SC ended up with more people taking part than ever before – so it’s worth a read even if you’ve already held your AGM for this year.

Another interesting story this month came from Yorkshire Dales SC, sharing its experience of installing a new weather station to support member satisfaction and engagement at the club. Find out more on our regional news pages - it’s a fascinating insight and especially so if your club might be interested in upgrading or buying a weather station.


If you’re missing your time on the water, #SailFromHome is here to help.

British Youth Sailing joined forces with the British Sailing Team to launch the first #SailFromHome sessions with a programme of remote learning to unite, inspire and entertain young racing sailors and judging by online interest this is proving a big hit.

So far we’ve had chats with Olympians, expert tips on meteorology and tides, and even an early morning workout! Please share the details with young club members and families, and keep an eye on the British Sailing Team pages and BST YouTube channel for resources and schedules.

Having started with the target group of young racing sailors, there will also soon be lots of forthcoming #SailFromHome content for clubs and centres – with themes including funding, volunteering and club development – and for sailors, windsurfers and powerboaters covering everything from maintenance and personal wellbeing/fitness to coaching and sailing legends. For younger and less experienced sailors there are also plans for some OnBoard specific sessions.

#SailFromHome - there’s lots to look forward to!

And finally…

The deadline for nominating dedicated club members for this year’s RYA Volunteer Awards has been extended to 01 May 2020. The awards are a great way to say thank you to those who go the extra mile to help people get on the water or support their clubs so please do take a look at our RYA Volunteer Awards page.

Keep up with all the latest news until next time @RYANorthEast on Facebook and/or Twitter. 

Keep safe, Sam.

RYA Volunteer Awards recipients 2019 at the award ceremony in London