RYA Midlands blog – July 2023

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

It’s been a whistle-stop month with lots going on around the region! Highlights included the BYS (British Youth Sailing) Regional Junior Championships for our windsurfers at Glossop SC and sailors at Rutland SC, with both events successfully catering for all levels from beginners to experienced racers, with lots of fun and learning.

I was at Rutland supporting the Rookie Fleet powered by OnBoard and it was fantastic to see so many young sailors having such a great time. The event also provided an opportunity for staff development with instructors from around the region - all topped off at the end of the day with an ice cream. It definitely felt like everyone was a winner!

Hopefully everyone who came along will have gone back to their clubs and centres and shared that it was a really good weekend both on shore and on the water – and in it for some of our junior sailors who found many ways of making a splash! Those taking part included new faces and places with clubs across the Midlands represented, and hopefully even more young sailors will be inspired to join us next year.

If your club or centre would like to find out more in the meantime about how to give your junior activities a boost, visit our RYA OnBoard hub.

Three dinghies with junior sailors in OnBoard bibs and helmets having fun as part of the Rookie Fleet powered by OnBoard at the 2023 BYS Midlands Regional Junior Championships at Rutland SC.

Visit from CEO Sara

Following on from the Regional Junior Championships, it was then a pleasure to welcome RYA Chief Executive Sara Sutcliffe to the region, who visited three very different clubs to find out what we’re all about in the Midlands.

Many thanks to Ross Ryan of Notts County SC, who extended the invitation in the first instance, which led to Sara’s mini-tour of the region. Sara was able to see the breadth of what we do in the Midlands and after visiting Notts County SC, called in at Rutland SC - one of our biggest clubs in the region - and Wanlip SC, one of the smallest.

RYA Midlands Chair Judy Lambourne and Imogeen Denton of our RYA Midlands Regional Volunteer Team, and Regional Performance Manager Tim Hall, also came along to meet Sara and club members at the different locations.

All three clubs enjoyed the opportunity to chat with Sara, share their thoughts and discuss how their experiences plug into the bigger picture, as the visit coincided with the launch of the RYA’s Together on Water strategy.

Read about Sara’s visit to the Midlands and find out more about the RYA’s Together on Water vision for a connected, inspired and inclusive sailing and boating community.

Four people in a dinghy at Notts County SC: Imogeen Denton, Ross Ryan, CEO Sara Sutcliffe and John Sears (L-R).

Ben in a Boat…

As part of my Ben in a Boat initiative, I also got to visit Hollowell SC in Northamptonshire for  a chat about club development and a chance to get on the water, and Syston SC in Leicestershire, for a powerboat and safety boat session with the club’s volunteers. Read more here.

I’m looking forward to visiting Chelmarsh SC following their invitation, and if your club or centre would like to invite me over for an afternoon to support the development of skills or know-how, whether for your volunteers, dinghy/windsurf instructors or powerboat drivers, let me know and we’ll get a date in the diary.

Membership Census

The annual RYA Club Membership Census has now gone out to club contacts. A big thank you to everyone who has already sent in their return for this year – and a reminder please for those who have not yet submitted their census data, to look out for the link and complete it.

This really is one of our most important and useful resources because it is used to inform and shape our work in the region. The deadline for completing this year’s census is Sunday 13 August and it’s helpful if people fill it in near the same date as they completed it last year.

If you need any help, including for example if you are a new membership secretary for your club, please do get in touch so we can support you. An impressive 99% of clubs in the region returned the census in 2022 so we’re hoping to match that again this year!

Aspiring female instructors

Half a dozen Aspiring Female Powerboat Instructors standing on a pontoon at Carsington during a weekend course to gain their qualification.

Finally, it was really great to see our Aspiring Female Powerboat Instructor programme starting to deliver new instructors for the region.

Following a course at Carsington Watersports, a number of participants have now qualified and will be heading back to their clubs and centres to inspire others to learn powerboat skills to support on-water activities.

The programme is ongoing to support those still progressing their journey towards achieving this certificate, and the intention is to run another RYA Powerboat Instructor course for this initiative later in the year.

For all other training opportunities, remember to bookmark our RYA Midlands Instructor Courses and CPD hub and keep up to date with all the latest news in the region by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

Until next time,