A big thank you to everyone who has made me welcome over the month or so that I’ve been in post as your RYA Cymru Wales Events Officer.
I’ve just been to Pembrokeshire attending an AGM for all the clubs there, and I’ve been enjoying getting to know a few more of you beyond the south Wales area where I’ve been based for much of my career on the water.
The Big Weekend at Plas Menai was also a really good occasion for meeting and greeting! Although it was a long way to travel for some, those that did make it to this event for instructors, clubs and centres found it really useful and worthwhile.
With the theme Explore, Experiment, Equip it was ideal for not only discovering new ways to help our sport thrive into the future, but also a fantastic opportunity for networking.
It was great to see everyone chatting enthusiastically over lunch and the Saturday evening meal, and I very much enjoyed getting to know clubs like Gresford SC to find out what they are doing and get more of an idea about what’s going on across Wales.
On the Sunday there was no wind The Big Weekend so we cancelled the keelboat session and it was a chance for people to find out more about the many ways people can enjoy the water, including Swim Safe, powerboating, paddleboarding, winging and foiling.
One session included guiding how we can add value to our activities with an ability to share environmental and cultural knowledge about the blue spaces we operate in.
Other workshops included Anglesey-based charity SEAS Sailability and Windswept Watersports demonstrating their accessible SUP with its seating options and stabilisers, enabling those who may be unable to stand up on a paddleboard to still enjoy the sport.
I was wide-eyed for the whole weekend making sure I could absorb all the information from the sessions and looking at the feedback it seems many of our attendees were doing the same!
Read more in our Big Weekend Round Up.
The Big Weekend included an introduction to our draft strategy 2024-2029 from our CEO James Stuart and the launch of a consultation giving you the chance to have your say.
This five-year plan aims to support a connected, inspired and inclusive Welsh sailing and boating community, so please do take a look at our draft strategy and share your views.
We also launched our new RYA Cymru Wales Impact Awards and it’s been great to see nominations already coming in for these. The awards are wide-ranging and nominations so far have encompassed a wide range of activities, including encouraging school pupils on to the water, developing youth training, increasing membership through local engagement, and inspirational coaching.
Every other month from 2024 we’ll be announcing our awardees. Do you know someone who goes above and beyond to support activities afloat in Wales? Get your nominations in!
Until next time,