RYA Midlands blog – January 2024

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

Happy new year! It’s been great to see lots of clubs and sailors on the water for winter racing and events. Others have been busy with on shore activities such as socials and work parties, while for some it’s been a valuable downtime period allowing volunteers to take a break.

We’ve also had relentless rain and extensive flooding across the region over the last month, which appears to have particularly affected clubs in the East Midlands region around the River Trent and River Soar.

Picture of flooding taken from a glider, showing Notts County Sailing Club and boatpark as an 'island' surrounded by countryside and fields under water.

Notts County SC became an island in the floods, credit David Hill

A number of you have been in touch and we’ve been trying to support and signpost to sources of help. It’s been good to get feedback along the way that our RYA insurance partner Gallagher have been swift to get people sorted if they’ve been affected.

Wanlip Sailing Club near Leicester was among those flooded but a shout out for help to clear up afterwards saw the biggest ever turnout of members on a single day; a training centre meanwhile saw its staff volunteering to come in over their holidays to lend their support.

The silver lining as ever in times of challenge is that when help is needed, people come together and are willing to give it. So many of you have been rallying around, demonstrating once again the strength of community in our sport and at our clubs and centres.

If you are still dealing with flood-related problems, please get in touch and we will try to help.

Regional Training Day

Booking is now open for our Regional Training Day at Rutland Sailing Club. This event on Saturday 9 March is for anybody involved in delivering activities at their club or centre, with both instructors and volunteers invited to come along.

It’s shaping up to be a really good day with a whole variety of morning workshops ashore and afternoon on-the-water sessions – it’s the perfect opportunity to catch up with the latest updates, be inspired and get set for the new season!

Spaces will be limited so please do sign up to secure your place and the sessions you are particularly interested in asap. We have dinghy sailing, powerboating and winging, and if you don’t want to get your toes wet, additional shore-based afternoon sessions as well.

The day also includes keelboating options aboard the club’s RS21s and SKUDS and a new idea for this year is a Coaching Carousel for tapping into quick-fire topics and tips.

Even if you have been before, come again, and if you’ve never been before, please do!

Graphic announcing Booking Now Open for Regional Training at Rutland Sailing Club, 9 February 2024, with link to booking page. 


Would you benefit from a grant for training or a project at your club or centre to boost capacity and participation? Our new RYA Midlands Learning & Development Bursaries are open for applications this year until 31 March 2024.

Launched by the RYA Midlands Regional Volunteer Team, the bursaries will run for three years and offer grants of up to £250 for individuals or £1,000 for clubs, centres and groups.

The aim is to support training and initiatives which will get more people on the water, more often, across all aspects of boating in the region, including racing, cruising, board sports, Sailability, OnBoard / youth and junior activities.

Find out more and apply. The regional team is looking forward to receiving your applications!

RYA events

I’ll be at the RYA Training Conference at Oxford at the end of the month along with Sailing Development Officers Tom Davenport and Sallie Bowd, and members of the regional training team, so if you’re there too, feel free to catch up with us for a chat.

I’ll also be at the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show at Farnborough International, 24 and 25 February, and likewise it’s always good to see people – I’ll be there both days if you’d like to say hello.

To keep up with all RYA events, I’d recommend bookmarking the RYA events hub, which enables you to filter opportunities by region and interest.

There are ongoing RYA Connected webinars supporting club development, and we have a number of training courses open for booking, including RYA Senior Instructor, Winging and Powerboat instructor courses, take a look!

Group of instructors on a course standing in a group on shore in sailing kit with dinghies lined up on the grass alongside a lake waiting to go.

Keep in touch

There is always lots going on and a really good way to keep in touch and ensure you see my monthly updates along with the latest news is to set up a My RYA profile.

Link this to your RYA membership to receive regular e-newsletters to suit your interests and preferences, including this Midlands blog, delivered straight to your inbox.

At the start of the year and before the new season, now is the perfect time to ensure you are getting the right info for you and your club or centre!

Until next time,