RYA Midlands blog – April 2023

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

Group of people taking part in an RYA Dinghy Instructor course at Shropshire SC, on shore listening to a briefing.

It’s been another really busy month with RYA events and I’ve also been out and about around the region. Our group for Aspiring Female Powerboat Instructors has continued at Carsington and I also visited Shropshire SC to catch up with everyone from the club and around the region at the end of their RYA Dinghy Instructor course.

Likewise at Rutland Watersports at Whitwell I was able to meet with another group of people from across the Midlands who were just completing their RYA Senior Instructor course. It was good to see this group as they will likely become the more senior members of their teams as they step up into their SI roles.

Having the chance to engage with everyone and their training was really useful and we are grateful to all those who give their time to train as instructors or develop their skills to support activities at their clubs and centres.

Group of successful participants at RYA Dinghy Instructor course at Shropshire SC, March 2023

Midlands team training day

The Senior Instructor course visit was one of three days I spent at Rutland over a single weekend in March, which also included our Regional Training Day on the Saturday, and a day of upskilling for members of the RYA Midlands Regional Training Team on the Friday.

The team can more usually be found running instructor training and carrying out inspections at RYA Recognised Training Centres. This particular day, however, was for our own development because it doesn’t matter what level of qualifications you have, it’s really important to keep learning.

In addition to our onshore catch up, we got out on the water in the SKUD Paralympic keelboats used by Rutland Sailability - outside of everyone’s normal comfort zone on a really windy day! None of us had ever sailed anything like a SKUD before and it was rewarding to be on the learning end of the instructing process for a change.

Led by our Disability Development Officer Brett Cokayne, we were also supported by the volunteer team from Rutland who were properly amazing: they were like a Formula One pit crew and every time we wanted something it was ‘zip zip zip’ and it was done! We all really enjoyed it and it was a timely reminder ahead of the Regional Training Day to never stop developing and trying new things.

RYA Midlands training team day at Rutland SC, team members in a SKUD keelboat on a pontoon.

Regional Training Day

It was the perfect precursor to the Regional Training Day at Rutland SC. This had just over 80 attendees including the training team, mostly instructors but also new faces and volunteers following the broadening of the day’s format to include anyone who supports on-water activities at their club or centre.

The feedback about the day and the change of emphasis was really good. Rather than just focussing on the technical side of instructing, it was all about creating a great participant experience, thinking about how we teach and how we can help people to really enjoy our courses and sessions so they have a good time and want to do more.

Again, it was seriously windy! This led to some groups not going afloat but the takeaway was that we all still learnt loads and also that if it happens to you – and you get a day that’s too windy to run a session – there is still plenty you can do on shore.

Eventually the wind dropped a little and around half to ¾ of delegates went afloat for different activities, including SKUD keelboat sailing, winging and powerboating.

A huge thank you to all those who gave up their time to come along for their clubs. Please do keep checking the regional Instructor Courses & CPD hub to find out about other development days and courses. And remember, you can keep up with all the latest news and opportunities in the region by following us @RYAMidlands on Facebook and Twitter

Delegates at the RYA Midlands Training Day in conference room at Rutland SC.

And finally…

The RYA Midlands AGM took place on Monday 27 March as an online meeting which included updates and the confirmation of roles on our Regional Volunteer Team, who work alongside RYA staff and bring their interests and expertise to benefit boating in the region.

Our chair for the last six years Steven Tinsley has now officially handed over the helm to Judy Lambourne (pictured below) and at a subsequent regional management group meeting at Carsington, we were able to again thank Steven for all his hard work and tireless support for boating in the RYA Midlands region over many years, including the difficult period of the pandemic.

I am pleased to say that Steven has agreed to stay with the Regional Volunteer Team as our Deputy Chair and I would like to add a warm welcome to Judy, who as our cruising rep has also served on our Regional Volunteer Team over many years, as our new chair.

Until next time,


Incoming Midlands RVT chair Judy Lambourne with outgoing chair Steven Tinsley (right) at Carsington