RYA Midlands blog – October 2023

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

Two people each sailing a Fusion dinghy with blue and green sails against a grey sky in front of clubhouse at Bartley, Birmingham.

I’ve had a couple of moments over the last month where I’ve been inspired and wondered if clubs and classes might likewise have any takeaways from my experiences.

When I was away at an RYA team meeting on the south coast I had the chance to call in at the 2023 Formula Kite European Championships in Portsmouth.

It was really good to see a big event and also that lots of people, who don’t know the first thing about it, wanted to see what was going on and be a part of it.

It made me think back to when clubs have an open day with the gates open and it spurs people to come a long and have a look, have a go and maybe find out more.

In Portsmouth, people could sit on the beach and watch the kiting, and it made me think about how we can make our sport look attractive and draw people in.

I was also at the Andrew Simpson Centre at Bartley for an RYA test of some #rockupandrace formats for clubs to generate and rejuvenate interest in racing.

So, within a month I’ve had two occasions that made me wonder if there was something we could learn about enticing people in and then encouraging them to stay and be active by mixing it up a bit with different ideas to keep it fresh and fun.

RYA Connected is an event where you can come along to explore ways of doing exactly this.

RYA Connected

Our major event of the year for the Midlands is RYA Connected, which is for representatives from all aspects of club life: committee, training, Sailability and racing.

It’s a great opportunity to come along and hear from other clubs about their challenges and successes. We can all learn from each other and genuinely this is the most important get together we will have in the region for people involved in club life.

Come along and ask questions of us and each other and find out what’s going on beyond your own club and boat park - take a step back, tap into RYA expertise, chat with other people and pick up new ideas - we’re all in the same boat!

Find the agenda and book your FREE place at our RYA Connected booking hub.

Banner graphic for RYA Connected conference for the Midlands with RYA logo and the words share-learn-grow, 19 November Brockington College Leciester, with three women sailing a boat in a circular frame.

New bursaries

Another reason for coming along to RYA Connected will be for the official launch of our RYA Midlands Learning & Development Bursaries.

As a region we do understand that times are tough financially and so we hope our new grants will go some way towards helping those who want to support activities and grow participation.

At RYA Connected you’ll be able to find out more and talk to some of the people who will be on the awarding panel about what we’ll be looking for when applications open.

Take a look at our RYA Midlands Learning & Development Bursaries preview.

Instructor opportunities

If you'd like to give winging a go for the first time - or get out winging with others and pick up some top tips - join us Carsington Sport & Leisure for our RYA Midlands Wing Day – ideal for RYA instructors to come together to have a go or hone skills before the season ends.

We also have for would-be powerboat instructors a skills assessment day on 28 October followed by an RYA Powerboat Instructor course 30 November-2 December coming up at Shustoke Sailing Club. If you’re interested, take a look at the details and book as soon as possible or share the link with your instructors and volunteers.

Group of a dozen people on shore listening to an instructor surrounded by wings and foil boards on the grass with lake in the background.

Calling all training centres

Principals of RYA Recognised Training Centres should have had their inspector visit by now or have booked a date in the diary for it to take place. If you haven’t yet got in touch with your inspector, now is the time to do so.

Please do get in touch with me if you have any difficulties with organising your inspection visit so I can assist in making this happen.

Photo competition

Our photo competition continues and I’m pleased to announce that the winner of the September round is Derbyshire Youth Sailing for their picture from the prizegiving at one of their recent open meetings at Staunton Harold SC.

It’s quite a simple picture but the fact that it celebrates a good event, and young people being inspired to get on the water, we felt captured a really lovely moment in time.

Derbyshire Youth Sailing will be receiving a Helly Hansen dry bag in the post, which I understand will now be a prize for a young sailor at their final event of the year on Saturday 21 October at Swarkesone SC – win win!

We’re now into the final month of our RYA Midlands photography competition – if you’re out and about at, or with, your club or centre, take a snap and share it with us @RYAMidlands on Facebook or email comms.ne-mids@rya.org.uk – we’d love to see it and you could win a prize!

Group of 16 children with prizes on shore with lake in background after competing in a Derbyshire Youth Sailing event at Staunton Harold.

And finally…

As the nights draw in with the change of the clocks at the end of the month, what’s on your programme to keep members and customers in touch with your club or centre over the darker days of winter?

You might have activities planned for evening talks or social events, or for doing more at the weekends during the day. Hopefully you have a few ideas but if you need any, please feel free to contact me and the team as we’re always happy to help.

Until next time,