Midlands Blog - November 2022

Ben's Buzz! Catch up with all the latest news for clubs and centres in the Midlands with Regional Development Officer Ben Hodgson...
07 Nov 22
2018 Eric Twiname Junior Championships view from drone of Rutland Water SC clubhouse and boat park

I’ve been spending time since the last Ben’s Buzz working towards the big regional events coming up over winter and into next year, starting with our RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference later this month, and then for 2023 the Regional Training Day and Regional Junior Championships at Rutland.

Putting in the leg work so we’re primed for these events will make sure they’re really good when we get there and it’s been great talking to people and putting the logistics in place.

As we move from one season to the next and prepare for what’s coming up in the calendar, I’d like to think that clubs and centres are similarly taking stock at the end of a busy year and looking ahead to their activity plans and what is in store for their next season and 2023.

Meet the team at our Affiliated Clubs Conference

The big event that’s next up on the calendar is our rapidly approaching RYA Midlands Affiliated Clubs Conference on Saturday 19 November and I’m really looking forward to seeing you all there.

It’s a real opportunity for your club to meet the RYA team face-to-face and explore the help that is available to support your activities. Each club that attends will also be able to pick up their own bespoke report from the RYA Club Membership Census.

You will be able to look at the insights for your own club or venue and I’ll be sharing the regional headlines so you will be able to see how your club fits into that bigger picture.

If you’re involved in running your club or its activities, please get your place booked asap now, as tickets are going quite quickly, and encourage your team to do likewise.

We’re at the National Memorial Arboretum again which is a fantastic location – tickets and parking are free and refreshments and a buffet lunch is included, as is admission to the Arboretum so you will have a chance to walk around and explore the grounds as well.

Find out more and book your free ticket to the RYA Midlands Affiliated Clubs Conference.

Group photograph of the RYA Midlands regional team, staff and volunteers, at Whitemoor Lakes.

Training opportunities for your club or centre

Our regional training programme for this year is drawing to a close and myself along with RYA Midlands Sailing Development Officer Tom Davenport are now planning for next year’s courses. If your club or centre has an interest in running instructor training, for your own team or as an open course, please contact me so we can schedule it in for you.

In the meantime, please do save the date for our RYA Midlands Regional Training Day, supported by Gallagher, which will take place on Saturday 25 March 2023 at Rutland Sailing Club for anyone involved in the practical delivery of activities supported by the RYA small craft schemes.

Previously known as the Instructor Training Day, the name change reflects that this year it will be open to not only instructors but also race coaches and anyone else who is involved in facilitating training activities at your club or centre. For example, volunteers who may not be instructors but who support courses and activities such as Sailability sessions afloat.

The aim is that whenever we take people out on the water they get the best possible experience.

The training day will be split by whether your interest is sail, board or power and we’ll be getting afloat for group activities so it should be a really useful and enjoyable day. Look out for when bookings open shortly after Christmas and share the date with your instructors and volunteers!

Developing female instructors

We’ve had a good level of interest in our Aspiring Female Instructor programme and its latest initiative to encourage those who may like to become an RYA Powerboat Instructor.

Sailing Development Officer Patricia Ordsmith held an initial online meeting at the beginning of the month to provide an informal opportunity for asking questions. It was really good to see more than a dozen attendees and find out what their journey towards becoming a powerboat instructor might look like.

We’ll be supporting our aspiring female Powerboat Instructors to access a course next season for this exciting project, which is a first for any RYA region. If you or anyone at your club was unable to make that initial meeting but would like to know more, please get in touch with Patricia who will be pleased to hear from you.

Boost for water levels and activity

With the onset of autumn and winter and a bit of rainfall, some venues which had been forced to stop operating or curtail their activities have now managed to get back out on the water again, with rising water levels enabling the launching of boats again.

Although not everyone is in this fortunate position yet and will have a longer lasting impact to manage, the change of weather is supporting some venues, particularly those higher up in the Peak District, towards a degree of recovery. Whatever your situation, please feel free to contact the regional team if there are any issues for which you would like further advice or support.

And finally… celebrating OnBoard

This month saw the publication of our first RYA Midlands OnBoard blog with the aim of helping you keep up to date with all the latest news and opportunities: our Sailing Development Officer Patricia Ordsmith is looking forward to sharing these and we hope you enjoy reading the blog and also find it useful.

We’re also celebrating a JMST / RYA OnBoard award for a junior windsurfer from the Midlands, Tian Zhang, whose dedication to the sport will see him now being able to take his racing to the next level with a new board and sail. You can read all about it here and also find out how the legacy of these JMST awards continues, with a Topper awarded a number of years ago still going strong and inspiring the next generation!

Until next time,


OnBoard instructor chatting to junior sailors on shore by a lake.