December 2021

Latest news from your Regional Development Officer

As we come to the end of what has been another very challenging year, I wish you and yours a very happy Christmas and a safe and healthy new year.

Affiliated Clubs Conference 
It was great to see everybody who came to the face-to-face Affiliated Clubs Conference (ACC) in November. What a good opportunity it turned out to be for networking, and meeting up with a lot of people from RYA HQ who we don’t normally get to see. The big takeaway for me – in the light of the covid recovery – was the realisation that club development planning needs to be more structured going forward. If you weren’t there, download the planning document and take a look.

A total of 62 delegates from 55 clubs in the region attended our information-packed event at the South Devon College Business Centre on Saturday 20 November.

The state-of-the-art venue really was the perfect place for people to meet face-to-face for the first time in two years, and we designed the event to maximise the amount of time everyone had to network and catch up. There was a wealth of expertise to call on, from staff including Leon Ward (Disability Development Officer) and Mandy Peters (RYA Legal), members of The Green Blue team and Sailing Development Officers Pete Bone and Stuart Jones, as well as the Regional Volunteer Team (RVT).  

As well as the club development session, where I discussed all the RYA resources available, there were four workshops available to help clubs with:

  • developing and replacing facilities
  • recruiting and retaining members
  • recruiting and retaining volunteers
  • governance and legal challenges

These workshops are going to be hosted again online in January, full details of these and online booking is available HERE.  We’re also offering to come and deliver them to clusters of local clubs. So, if you want more of your committee members to participate, and can join up with other local clubs, we’re looking for venues where we can run the workshops. Let me know if you would like to host one, and we’ll organise a date.

COVID Guidance

As the Government is starting to reintroduce both Covid related guidance and regulations, the team at the RYA are working hard to keep our information for you on this topic up to date. We know that at times there is a delay between the Prime Minister’s announcements and us being able to update our guidance; this is normally a result of us waiting for the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) to update their guidance or at times for us to have sight of the wording of the legislation which can make a significant difference between what is and is not permitted.  We will continue to apply pressure to these bodies as we know how important it is for you to know what is permissible or advisable as quickly as possible.  Our guidance is available here, scroll down the page to find our “FAQs on COVID-19 Guidance.”


I know that more and more clubs are trying to be more inclusive so that they can attract more members. So to assist you with this we have created an inclusivity toolkit which is designed to help clubs and centres to establish where on that journey they currently are and offer guidance on how to move forward from there. The tool itself comes with loads of templates and additional resources to help clubs and centres to navigate their way through the tool.  The toolkit is now ready to be tested by a small number of clubs and we are looking for some volunteers to take part in the “Phase 2 Pilot”. This will involve a select number of clubs trailing the tool within their clubs through the winter and then providing feedback to us on how they found the tool and provide us with a case study. If you would be interested in joining the phase two pilot and helping us to create an incredible resource, please talk to me or contact the equality team on

Save 30% on RYA Membership 
Something I mentioned in my presentation at the ACC is that many club members believe that their subscription includes RYA membership when in fact it doesn’t. However, the RYA is currently offering 30% off new RYA Adult and Family memberships to all ACC attendees and their club members until 31 March 2022, using the discount code ACCRYA30 at the online checkout. (This discount is not for renewals or re-joins).

Please feel free to share this code with your club members.

Regional video update
Duncan West, Leon Ward and I recorded a regional video update just before the ACC, which includes a brief review of the year and a heads-up on what’s coming soon. Take a look!  

Kitesurfing and wingsurfing insurance now available
Members of the RYA can now take advantage of free third-party insurance for kite surfing, kite foiling, wing surfing and wing foiling as part of their RYA membership. Let your members know!

Port Waste Management Plan for clubs
We’ve heard that some clubs in the region have been asked to complete a Port Waste Management Plan by their local port authority. The RYA Legal and Environmental teams are looking into this, so it would be very helpful to know if any other clubs have also been asked – please can you contact me if your club has been asked about this so that if necessary we can provide you with the correct support.

Volunteer awards
We are very proud of all 13 South-West volunteers who were recognised at the annual RYA Volunteer Awards recently – congratulations and many thanks to all of them.

Bargain boats to improve inclusivity
As we’re now definitely in winter, it’s a good time to pick up cheap boats and work on them before the next season.  Look at what the Royal Torbay Yacht Club has been achieving with cheap boats, making racing for teens more inclusive. 

Junior racing news from Regional Performance Manager, Duncan West
Happy Christmas! We’re looking forward to very active new year and, in particular, earlier dates than before for the Regional Junior Championships. Don’t forget to put these dates in your diaries – the Windsurfing event will be on 11/12 June (venue to be confirmed) and the Dinghy event will be on 18/19 June at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. 

RDO Rob Howlett 
07876 330374