RYA Midlands blog – February 2024

Ben's Buzz! Catch up with all the latest news for clubs and centres in the Midlands with Regional Manager Ben Hodgson...
08 Feb 24

Representatives from clubs and centres in the Midlands were among the delegates at the RYA Training Conference 2024 - this is a picture from the back of the main conference room which is packed with people listening to a presentation.

Ahead of the new season we had the RYA Training Conference at Oxford a couple of weeks ago, which was one of the first big events of the year for people from the Midlands.

It was a busy weekend and really good to see  a mix of people from the region who gave up a day or two to attend, including representatives not only from big Training Centres but also one or two of our smaller clubs like Syston.

A lot of our training team who run inspections and instructor courses were also there so it was a great opportunity to catch up with people. All of us who took part are now looking to make sure we share what we’ve learned around the region.

My big takeaway came from Captain Andrew Moll, Chief Inspector of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), who as a keynote speaker shared the lessons to be learned from accidents and incidents. He reinforced the message that getting the basics right can ensure people have a much better and safer day afloat.

This was timely reminder about paying attention to the simple but important things, like making sure buoyancy aids are fitted properly, maintaining kit in good order, and using it appropriately for whatever you have planned on the day.

It was interesting to hear this national reflection and hugely relevant to what we all aim to do day-to-day no matter how big or small our bit of water.

Skills development

Following on from the conference I’m now looking forward to some more Continuous Professional Development this month, with a trip to Southampton for a couple of days with the training team for some upskilling on pilotage and using electronics for navigation.

Even though we’re all part of the regional training team, and our instructor-trainers are at the top of their game, we’re all still keen to stretch ourselves by learning and making sure we’re up to date so we can bring that knowledge back to the sessions we run in the Midlands.

What do you have planned for the season ahead to develop your skills? Trying something new is not only a great way to keep your proficiency up to speed, but also a great way to maintain and develop your interest in the sport.

Keep an eye on our social media @RYAMidlands on Facebook and X and bookmark the RYA Events portal for opportunities in the region. There are ongoing RYA Connected webinars supporting club development, and we have a number of training courses open for booking.

Land drill with trainer in a dinghy on the shore at Rutland Sailing Club and a group gathered around listening at the RYA Midlands Regional Training Day 2023.

Regional Training Day

The next big date in the diary is our RYA Midlands Regional Training Day at Rutland Sailing Club on Saturday 9 March. This is for anybody involved in delivering activities at their club or centre -  instructors and volunteers – and is shaping up to be a really good day.

Nearly half of the available spaces have already gone, so if you are planning to come along, don’t leave it until the last minute to book! Check out the full range of onshore and on-the-water sessions for the day, choose your activities and sign up as soon as possible and by no later than midnight on Sunday 3rd March.

Affiliation renewals

All our Affiliates have received their invitation to renew. This year it is via the new online RYA Affiliation Portal, which should be really good going forward, as it will offer better two-way communication to support our Affiliates. You may also wish to use the platform to store some of your other club information, so this is a great opportunity to update your details.

That said, it is a new platform and different way of operating, so if you are having difficulties please let us know and don’t struggle with it! Contact the RYA Affiliation Team who will be able to help.

Learning & Development Bursaries

Would you benefit from a grant for training or a project at your club or centre to boost capacity and participation? A quick reminder that our new RYA Midlands Learning & Development Bursaries are open for applications, with grants of up to £250 (individuals) or £1,000 (clubs, centres & groups) available to support training and initiatives to get more people on the water, more often. Find out more and apply by 31 March 2024.

Group on shore at Rutland Sailing Club getting ready to go afloat with wings at RYA Midlands Regional Training Day 2023.

And finally…

A reminder that I’ll be at the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show at Farnborough International on both days, 24 & 25 February, so if you are going along too it would be great to see you there.

I’ll be mainly on the RYA stand so come and say hello, and I’ll also be at the Club of the Year Awards on the Saturday to support our Young Person’s Club of the Year finalist Draycote Water Sailing Club.

If you have anything in particular you’d like to chat about feel free to get in touch with me in advance to let me know your questions and we’ll catch up at the Show.