Run by sailing’s national governing body, the RYA, OnBoard gives anyone aged 8-18 the chance to learn to sail or windsurf by providing low-cost opportunities for schools, youth groups and families to have fun afloat. The low cost sessions are also designed to promote equal access to sailing for young people from all social and economic backgrounds, whilst encouraging their character development.
Commodore of Guernsey Yacht Club, Anna Rivers said “We want to make sailing as accessible as we can to everybody, and in particular to younger sailors. We know that they have a lot of demands on their time, and OnBoard gives them the chance to just get out on the water, sail and have some fun away from any stresses or pressures that they may have. We have our Open Day planned for May which includes RYA Discover Sailing and this will be the perfect opportunity to find out more about what OnBoard offers.”
Hannah Cockle, RYA OnBoard Operations Officer comments; “It’s great to welcome Guernsey Yacht Club LBG to the OnBoard programme. Getting out on the water has a huge amount of benefits, no matter what your age, background or ability. We look forward to working with them and the local community in the future to get as many people as possible enjoying our great sport.”
Outdoor activities, including sailing and windsurfing, are hugely beneficial for both physical and mental health, and can also help nurture and develop young people’s key life skills.
The 2020 landmark RYA OnBoard Impact Report evidences that by learning and participating in sailing, young people are likely to benefit from a wide range of outcomes as well as providing a variety of valuable life skills that can be applied into all areas of a young person's life.
The Report, which was produced by Professor Bill Lucas and the University of Winchester, identified that sailing can help young people develop multiple positive character attributes including: creativity, confidence, teamwork, communication, determination, independence and performance.
Hannah continues: “Being on the water creates multiple situations where young people are challenged and tested as they learn a new sport or activity. The OnBoard programme provides a safe and proven structure for this to happen and a great environment to help young sailors to develop the OnBoard character attributes and capabilities that are so important for success in later life.
“More than ever, this year also demonstrates just how important and beneficial outdoor activities like sailing and windsurfing are for our physical and mental health – to young and old alike.”
By becoming an RYA OnBoard Club, Guernsey Yacht Club is continuing to build on its junior and youth offering. Youngsters currently (when Covid-19 restrictions allow) enjoy a range of weekly activities. Five-year-olds and over can take part in weekly ‘Pirates’ and learn to sail in a fun and safe environment on the club’s Model Yacht Pond. Once enough experience has been achieved, the youngsters then move out onto the sea and improve their skills with the Buccaneers course.
The Club’s older children, with their own Optimist boats, train regularly and progress onto Fevas and Lasers. With experience, older juniors also have the opportunity to join the adult teams racing yachts and gain new perspectives on being part of a team.Having fun dinghy racing on the Model Yacht Pond
Last year, within Covid-19 restrictions on the Island, the Club hosted a successful Junior Open Day. An impressive 150 juniors enrolled in the club’s various activities, spanning from Pirates on the Pond for the youngest to Laser sailing at national as well as international level for the most experienced.
As well as its commitment to junior sailing, Guernsey Yacht Club also strives to support the development of the sport within the island. The Club supports a wide range of sailing related activities including dinghy racing, yacht racing and cruising, and power boating whilst it’s safety and pilotage evenings are unrivalled.
Since 2005, OnBoard has introduced more than 900,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK, converting some 70,000 of them into regular participants.
For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit www.rya.org.uk/go/onboard