Club Development Blog - October 2019


The conferences provide useful information for your clubs, while also giving access to some of the top people at the RYA nationally.

Alistair Dickson, the RYA’s Director of Sports Development, will be making the keynote address and doing a workshop at both events, along with speakers from RYA Legal, Green Blue, Racing Services and more.

This year's conferences are all about 'Putting people first'. There will be information about the RYA’s volunteer research, with plenty of case studies which will be relevant to your clubs.

It is great to see as many clubs as possible represented at these events to take the messages back to fellow members.

In fact, to ensure you do not miss anything relevant, we would recommend at least two attend from each club if possible in order to cover all the workshops.

This club specific conference is FREE to attend with lunch and refreshments provided.

Pre-booking is essential. You can sign up here - BOOK NOW

The South and West Wales RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference is on the 17th November 2019 at Pembrokeshire YC. The North Wales Conference will be in Llandudno Sailing Club, January 25, 2020.

Census thanks

We look forward to seeing as many club representatives as possible at those events, but this is also a chance to thank everyone for filling in the RYA Club Membership Census.

This is a vital piece of research each year which allows us to analyse and understand the health of our sailing clubs, information which gets fed back to those clubs to help them make decisions.

The Census also helps us shape the content of workshops at the ACC’s to support the clubs better. The information helps at regional and national levels, but also each participating club will get a report showing changes over the last five years. This will help you shape your club development plans or to stay on track.

One issue which is being explored in South Wales is the search for more RYA Senior Instructors.

There was a meeting to look at the potential barriers to going on the course with 12 representatives from 10 clubs attending at Cardiff Yacht Club. There were a mixture of dinghy instructors thinking about progressing and also a chief instructor and

centre principals wanting to develop others

As a result, hopefully many of those barriers have been overcome and South Wales development officer Pete Muskett will help run a Senior Instructors course next Easter. Contact for more details.

In the North it has been great to see Rhyl Marine Lake become fully accessible with a disabled hoist, ramp and new pontoon along with the addition of three Hansa boats.

Youth success

The British Youth Sailing Welsh Regional Championships are always a highlight of the calendar, both for those at the front of the field and those towards the back.

Mumbles Sailing Club were excellent hosts with Swansea Bay providing an good challenge, while there was interest throughout the competitions.

Those challenging at the top of the leaderboards were, of course, among the very best young sailors in Wales. They are following in the footsteps of Welsh Olympians Hannah Mills and Chris Grube in competing and winning at this level.

Talking of which, it was great to see both Hannah and Chris in the first group of sailors selected for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

They are both sailors who have come through the Welsh development pathway and we are all very proud of their achievements.

When we look for the future stars of our sport, the top performers at a competition like the Welsh Regional championships are always a good place to start.

However, there was also some interest – and some lessons to learn – from those lower down the field where there were examples of why we try to spread the net of Welsh boating as widely as possible and the value of schemes such as All-Afloat.

For example, Llandudno’s Bethany Doga coming 16th in the Topper Main Fleet is a statistic which hides quite a story.

Bethany only took up sailing three years ago as part of the All-Afloat charity which aims to provide sailing opportunities to people who would not normally take up our sport.

Bethany started getting into sailing a month after her father passed away and Mum Elaine says the sport has helped to provide focus for the whole family, describing it as “life-changing.”

Also, congratulations to all those who worked so hard to give us an event to finish after high winds meant there was no sailing possible on the first day of competition.

At the end of a long second day there were still plenty of smiling faces making their way back to the Mumbles club.

If the focus is on some of the ways sailing can have a positive impact on people’s lives, there was another example with Challenge Wales celebrating their three years of running a fantastic project called the Voyages of Discovery.

Funded by big lottery community fund Wales, the project has seen Challenge Wales partner with over 20 youth and young people organisations across Wales to deliver sail training experiences to many young people.

Charities certainly have a big impact on Welsh boating. National charity The Wheelyboat Trust launched its 200th wheelchair accessible Wheelyboat, which will be used in North Wales, at this year’s Southampton International Boat Show.

The new Wheelyboat, named Phil Braden after the late RYA Cymru Wales chief executive who passed away earlier this year, was officially handed over by The Wheelyboat Trust to its new owners, SEAS @ Conway Centre.