With the aim of the OnBoard fleet being ‘games with aims’ rather than focusing on racing, young sailors were aged 13 and under and relatively new to sailing, and enjoyed activities including the ‘megasup’, kindly donated by Barton Marine. With activities revolving round the OnBoard character attributes, which include teamwork, determination, communication, independence, confidence and creativity – there were plenty of fun, games and getting wet! Seeing the other fleets (Coached Regatta and Championship fleets) sailing on the same piece of water also proved inspirational for the young sailors, having something to aspire to in future years.
Robbie Bell, Regional Development Officer for the East said “It was inspiring to see so many young sailors at Grafham Water over the weekend. The young people attending their first event as part of the OnBoard fleet were particularly impressive, they spent the weekend having fun and gaining confidence, working together and developing skills in a safe environment, this is what junior sailing is all about”
Amongst the sailors was Scarlett Levell, a young sailor from Essex Yacht Club, who was awarded the Chris Edwards’ Trophy by RYA East Chair Doug MacEwen. Commander Chris Edwards RN Retd was a previous Chair of the RYA East Region and a member of the RYA Council, with the Trophy awarded in his memory for the young sailor within the OnBoard fleet who demonstrated the most ‘determination and endeavour’ in their sailing at the event.
Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres.
The low cost sessions are designed to promote equal access to sailing for young people from all social and economic backgrounds, whilst encouraging their character development.
Since 2005, OnBoard has introduced more than 900,000children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK, converting some 70,000 of them into regular participants.
For more information about how to get out on the water in the East Region, visit https://www.rya.org.uk/start-boating