Conference inspires new buoys and a brighter future for Whitby Yacht Club

Whitby Yacht Club is looking forward to new buoys and developing a stronger membership after being inspired by an RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference
21 Oct 20

Whitby Yacht Club in North Yorkshire is looking forward to new racing buoys and a brighter future after tapping into a range of expertise at previous RYA Affiliated Clubs Conferences. 

Commodore Graham Oliver, along with the club’s vice commodore, treasurer and rear commodore house, have between them attended the last two conferences to benefit from the latest insights and learning available from the RYA and from other clubs sharing their experiences.

“All of us came back saying what a great resource the conference is for clubs to pick up ideas and see what support you can get without having to reinvent the wheel,” says Graham. “Meeting the rest of the RYA team at the conference, as someone who has to make decisions and look to the future for the yacht club, I found it very encouraging to find that support there, and it also makes it easier to then get support from club members for any new initiatives.”

Graham met RYA Regional Development Officer Sam Usher at the conference, who then visited Whitby to help the club committee work through a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to support the development of a strategic plan. Sam’s expertise also enabled the club to look at replacing its old racing marks, which used to be dropped in and hauled out each season, with seven new permanent commercial buoys.

The conferences also enabled committee members to attended different specialist workshops to find out more about a variety of topics, including funding from external sources, what non-racers might want from their membership, and how to run an open day which retains visitors as members.

With an ageing demographic at the club, it has been able to identify opportunities for training, youth engagement and collaborating with other groups in the town, including stand-up paddleboarding and open water swimming, to diversify and broaden its appeal and strengthen its membership.

“These ideas all started off at the conference,” says Graham. “You could turn around and say a lot of these are common sense, but it’s not common sense unless you actually get together and start thinking about it. I’d really recommend the RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference as we found it to be hugely beneficial. I’m looking forward to attending the one this year online and will be encouraging other members of the committee to take part as well.”

Book your FREE ticket for the RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference!

Sailing clubs across the country are booking to make the most of this year’s online RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference as they look to the future following the challenges of 2020.

The annual conference usually takes place at multiple regional venues but due to Coronavirus restrictions it will this year be held as a virtual, national event, on Saturday 21 November.

An easy-to-use online platform will make the 2020 RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference more accessible than ever before, with a world-class line up of speakers headlined by Sir Ben Ainslie on the day itself.

Throughout the weekend there will also be an online expo area where interactive ‘stands’ will offer access to RYA legal, racing and training teams, with bookable 1-1 appointments, live text Q&As, club case studies, regional and Home Country updates, downloadable resources and on-demand video.

There will then be a whole series of webinar ‘workshops’ commencing Monday 23rd November, giving clubs a chance to find out more about topics including recruiting and managing volunteers, environmental sustainability, reducing membership churn, engaging local communities, delivering a great experience to a wider audience, and promoting clubs to potential new members.

Tickets for this year’s conference are free and club officers, committee members and volunteers are invited to book now, even if they are not yet sure about their availability, because the live content will also be recorded and available to delegates afterwards.

For all the details about this year’s RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference and to secure your FREE ticket visit: