“In the early ‘70s I was posted to Gibraltar with the RAF and lived within 50m of the sailing club," explains RYA Instructor, Bill Giles.
"I was a small boat user but had never sailed. An RYA training team had recently visited the Rock and qualified some people there as instructors, it must have been very early in the scheme. One of the newly qualified instructors taught me to sail and I became a very keen dinghy sailor."
Within a couple of years Bill became an RYA Dinghy Instructor, before going on to become an RYA Dinghy Coach in the 1980's. "The course was run by the originator of the scheme, the late great Bob Bond. I was also appointed as an RYA Powerboat Trainer in the first tranche of these appointments, and later an RYA Yachtmaster," continued Bill.
"I still like to teach dinghy sailing, powerboating and now teach many of the shorebased courses as well - it is great fun teaching newcomers. The RYA training schemes have given me fifty years of great pleasure and satisfaction. Now well into my ‘70s it keeps me active and busy and I hope to continue for many years to come.”
Celebrating 50 years of RYA training
In 1970 the RYA Dinghy and Coaching schemes were introduced to assist clubs and sailing schools by providing a national syllabus and method of learning to sail. 50 years on, the RYA has a network of more than 2,400 recognised training centres in 58 countries worldwide and supports the delivery of over 100 different courses.
Some 270,000 people undertake some form of RYA training every year and the programme of courses is no longer exclusive to dinghies, but now encompasses everything from personal watercraft to the inland waterways, the thrill of foiling, the globally respected RYA Yachtmaster™ and so much more.
Share your story for the chance to WIN!
Do you have a story to share? Maybe an RYA training course was the start of a life-long hobby or career on the water? An introduction to friends or loved ones, or the inspiration and starting point for the adventure of a lifetime? Perhaps it even saved your life? Whatever your story, we want to hear how RYA training has impacted you. Please send your images, anecdotes and favourite memories to firstname.lastname@example.org for your chance to win a commemorative whisky glass.
To find out more about the competition, the 50th Anniversary and the history of the RYA training schemes, visit www.rya.org.uk/go/50years. For more information about RYA courses go to www.rya.org.uk/training.