Focusing on a ‘staycation’ – or just staying close to home this summer - sounds like a fantastic option in the south west. With stunning locations that will satisfy everyone, from the beginner to the hardened racer, the region has a huge range of competitive and leisure boating activities and thousands of instructors and coaches just waiting to help sailors improve their skills and enjoy the fresh air, water and exercise.
The south west has always been an incredibly popular destination for boaters enjoying personal watercraft, powerboating, cruising and cruiser racing, windsurfing, canal boating and dinghy sailing and racing. With coastal and estuary waters, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, canals and inland waterways, it’s not surprising that there are 130 clubs and dozens of Recognised Training Centres (RTCs) in the region. The variety in their size and ethos is enough to suit everyone’s needs, social life and budget – and this is the region that can boast the winners of RYA Club of the Year two years running (Royal Torbay Yacht Club in 2019 and Christchurch Sailing Club in 2020).
So, whether you’re looking for a family club, a place where you can indulge your competitive streak, a training course or a quiet refuge and a cruise up-river, and whatever your abilities, you’ll find it in the south west.
And when you need to learn more about your favourite boating activity, there are 3,500 small boat instructors, 324 cruising instructors and 186 race coaches ready to help. You’re sure to find a perfect fit at one of the 98 dinghy training centres, 15 keelboat centres, 4 inland waterways training centres, 12 personal watercraft centres, 142 powerboat training centres and 25 windsurfing centres!
The RYA Schemes will keep you coming back for more; RTCs offer training to progress your skills, clubs running RYA OnBoard help youngsters to catch the sailing bug, then British Youth Sailing (BYS) Recognised Clubs offer junior race training. RYA Sailability ensures that disability isn’t a barrier to taking part in on-water activities.
Supporting the region’s clubs, centres, instructors and volunteers is an RYA staff team, assisted by a group of Sailing Development Officers and the Regional Committee. They run training sessions, online forums, club development days, volunteer support activities, race coach and official training and much more. If you have questions or need advice, contact them:
Boating-mad visitors and residents alike are on-track to have a brilliant summer on the waters of the south west. But even if all you want to do is watch from the shore, there will be the excitement of the Sail GP, hosted this year in Plymouth, the RYA Youth Nationals - also in Plymouth - and there are fun-filled regatta weeks planned throughout the region.