Filey and Ripon join forces for inter-club youth regatta

Filey Sailing Club and Ripon Sailing Club joined forces and shared resources to organise a youth regatta in Filey Bay
28 Sep 20

A sunny day in September saw Ripon and Filey sailing clubs collaborating to bring their youth and junior sailors together for a regatta on the North Yorkshire coast, with fun racing on the water and safe social distancing on shore.

The Inter Club Youth Day was hosted by Filey SC and gave Ripon SC’s younger members a chance to sail on the sea, with each club organising its own competitors, who then met on the start line.

Having had to cancel its open events this year, and limited as to what was possible under the shadow of the Coronavirus pandemic, Filey SC was aiming for a simple, easy and fun day so that young sailors from the two clubs could experience sailing and racing together in Filey Bay.

Filey SC club secretary Carol Milner and Ripon SC youth and junior secretary Fiona Spence worked together to enable the day to happen, with each coordinating their home club’s sailors and parents. There were no entry fees for the event, a zoom briefing was held the night before, Ripon had its own designated area of the beach and everyone brought a picnic.

Carol said: “We are all under pressure this year and sometimes you need to take the pressure off and just have some sailing. As many clubs are experiencing - especially volunteer-run smaller clubs - many members are not able to come sailing never mind volunteer. We love to host and put on a good spread of food and cake and serve beer and tea but when it comes down to it - it’s about the sailing and sometimes it’s about facilitating. By coordinating club-to-club rather than individuals it all became possible with minimum complications and safe distancing.”

Young sailors with a range of abilities took to the water and although there were results, the day was more about enabling personal progression through racing rather than performance.

Ripon’s Fiona Spence commented: “Filey’s invite came at an opportune moment and was too good to say no to. I am immensely grateful for their can-do attitude and support. Ripon has a lot of young sailors who have not experienced sea sailing and it was great to be able to bring some of our newer #teamripon members along to experience an event at a different venue with a supportive race team and safety crews.  It was a day of firsts for several members – first time towing, first trip away from Ripon, first time on the sea.”

Both Filey and Ripon believe inter-club cooperation can provide opportunities for members of all ages and abilities to participate and develop their skills, not only through high profile events but also informal and relaxed occasions providing a fun and varied environment for learning. 

Fiona continued: “The racing at the front of the fleet was pretty fierce with some renewed rivalries from the Youth Traveller Series.  It was great to see the sailors at the front of the fleet revelling in the conditions and competition whilst supporting the less experienced members as they rigged and set sail. This is what sailing is all about – the camaraderie, friendship and support as well as a great day on the water.  We look forward to hosting Filey at Ripon as soon as possible.”

Carol added: “Everyone's resources are under pressure this year and we wanted to share our venue and create club collaboration to give the Ripon youngsters an opportunity on the beach. As a smaller club we are looking at ways to increase collaboration in the region and share resources. Clubs can be stretched holding events and it’s good to work together and sail together.”

Fantastic conditions in Filey Bay as youth sailors launch for the regatta, credit Ripon SCRegatta report

Conditions for the Filey & Ripon Inter Club Youth Regatta saw a glorious sunny September day with a neap tide and offshore winds keeping the sea flat and the surf very small. The winds were SW and changeable with some gusts up to 33 mph. It was an inverted P-course with handicap racing using average lap time for two races before and two after lunch.

Seventeen dinghies set out - 10 from Ripon SC and 7 from Filey SC - although due to the strong winds not all raced or stayed on the water. For some of Ripon SC’s members it was their first time on the sea. The youngest leaving the beach was Molly Wilson, aged six (FSC, Tera) but due to wind strength she had to retire early. Danny Whitehead aged 9 (FSC, Tera) fought through all four races. Harriet Newcombe, Rebecca Newcombe, Sophie Gates and Keira Cowell earned special mention for their tenacity and perseverance. Tom Moss and Henry Smith ferociously battled the elements and George Spence, Ollie Lumb, Theo McGonigle, Hamish Steel and Ben Whitehead had a blast.

After four races the final results were: 5th Alex Horsman (Byte, RSC); 4th Finn Goodman (Topper, RSC); 3rd Tommy Whitehead (RS Tera, FSC); 2nd Liam Boyce (Laser 4.7, FSC); and 1st Tom Bates (Laser 4.7, RSC). Carol sums up: “At the end of the day there were grins all round and everyone had learnt something. It was a great day – Simple, Easy, Fun. Thank you to all the parents who supported.”

Making it happen

Filey and Ripon SCs inter-club youth day planning included:

  • On the beach: launching trolleys and parents could spread out to maintain social distancing, with Ripon members allocated their own area to keep each club separate.
  • Each club co-ordinated its own sailors and parents, with the two lead organisers each knowing their own sailors, abilities and potential issues, and passing information between the groups without the need to gather in large numbers.
  • Sailing Instructions and information about the course, the club and what to expect, were all sent out in advance.
  • A zoom briefing was held the night before to explain the format and answer any questions.
  • All parents were engaged with their own children and launched them individually rather than mixing.
  • One toilet was available and an outside water tap for drinking/washing.
  • All sailors and shore crew were required to wear a face covering (buff) which could be pulled up if the safety crews needed to approach them. 
  • No catering: everyone had their own food and drink or picnic and sat in their spaces on the beach.
  • Numbers were limited to 20 dinghies with Filey providing two support boats.
  • Due to limited resources at the club this year, there was an agreement that if additional entries came in, Ripon would provide a third support boat and crew.
  • No entry fees: Just race officers, two support boats and parents helping their kids! However, Ripon SC collected a donation from each sailor who visited Filey and this has been donated to the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation to help another young sailor get out on the water, as Filey declined a contribution to their costs.

Further information

Visit the RYA Return to Boating hub for all the latest guidance for clubs and training. 

Youth sailors on the water in Filey Bay with the town behind them, credit James Whitehead, Filey SC