RYA Midlands blog – December 2023

Ben's Buzz! Catch up with all the latest news for clubs and centres in the Midlands with Regional Manager Ben Hodgson...
12 Dec 23

Firstly a big thank you from the regional team to everyone who took the time to travel to our RYA Connected event at Brockington College near Leicester.

This year’s annual get together was for anyone involved in club life and it was brilliant to see so many of you there, with lots of familiar faces but also new ones, including representatives from Sailability groups and those who might be taking on committee roles for the first time.

With 45 different clubs and nearly 100 delegates it was the best attended regional conference for a number of years, which enabled us to run different topics so that everyone could find something of particular interest to them or their home venue.

It was a really useful opportunity to get together and share ideas, with sessions ranging from boosting membership, training and volunteering through to handling disputes and legal issues, green innovations, running events and finding funding.

Team picture of RYA Midlands and head office staff, contractors and regional volunteers at RYA Connected event for the region at Brockington College, Nov 2023  - around 20 people on the stage with RYA Connected graphic on big screen behind.

As you can see in our team picture, we had lots of people there from both RYA Midlands and RYA head office, and this also illustrates how much help is on hand to provide knowledge and support for yourself and your club or centre, not just at events but all year round.

Looking at our big headlines from the day, 2023 in general saw lots of activity across our network of clubs and centres, and after a few challenging years it feels like we’re now in a more comfortable place, with lots of positives and a consolidation of membership and participation.

If you’d like to revisit any of the club development themes, look out for the ongoing series of online RYA Connected webinars by visiting the RYA Events hub or by following @RYAMidlands on Facebook and X for announcements.

Training opportunities

Our final training opportunities of the year have now taken place and as we look ahead, the next big date for the Midlands will be the Regional Training Day on Saturday 9 March at Rutland Sailing Club.

This event is for all levels of instructors and also non-qualified helpers supporting activities like Sailability and youth and junior clubs. Look out for details and bookings opening in early January. Please save the date and share it with your team!

In the meantime we have an Aspiring Senior Instructor Programme with four online sessions in the New Year for anyone who would like to know more about becoming an SI – followed by the course itself in Spring for which booking is now open - to kick off our training programme for 2024.

Graphic for Regional Training Day with person winging and text saying: save the Date, 9.3.24, Rutland Sailling Club.

Save the dates

  • 27-28 January – RYA Training Conference for training centre Principals, Chief Instructors and Appointment Holders.
  • 24 - 25 February 2024 - RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show at Farnborough International – including RYA Club of the Year and new for this year, a continuation of RYA Connected sessions with club-focused topics – RYA members and children 15 and under go free!
  • Wednesday 28 February - Youth & OnBoard Online Forum
  • Saturday 9 March – RYA Midlands Regional Training Day at Rutland Sailing Club for instructors and volunteers who support activities on the water.
  • Thursday 29 March 16.30 – Training Centre Principals Online Forum

Merry Christmas!

And finally, it’s been great to see so many clubs enjoying a vibrant social programme through this season’s short and dark days – whether a talk from our Regional Rules Advisor Steve Watson, making a Christmas rope wreath or lighting up dinghies for a luminous sail.

Has your club or centre has had any bright ideas for keeping everyone engaged or on the water over winter? Tag @RYAMidlands on social media or get in touch as we’d love to share.

The RYA team will be taking a break soon for the festive holidays and we look forward to getting back in action on Tuesday 2 January. We wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


A night time picture of four boats lined up along the shore with people alongside in winter coats and hats at Himley Hall Sailing Club - all of the boats are lit up in the dark by fairy lights on their hulls, masts, sails and shrouds!

Luminous evening at Himley Hall Sailing Club