It’s been really busy with events over the last month. We’ve had the RYA Training Conference, RYA Sailability Conference and RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show in quick succession and they’ve all been really vibrant. It’s been great to see so many of you from the Midlands region making the most of these events and also giving your time to represent your club, centre or class association.
Events give us a chance to feel inspired and take away new ideas but it can be all too easy to quickly move on to the next thing without finding an opportunity to put any of that enthusiasm into practice, so you may find that now is a good time to reflect on what you have heard or learnt to see if it can be applied at your venue as we look forward to the new season.
Next up is our RYA Midlands Regional Training Day at Rutland Sailing Club on Saturday 25 March 2023. If you’re an instructor, race coach or a volunteer who supports activities on the water, including children’s sessions or Sailability, please sign up as soon as possible, and remember to share the details with your teams.
Bookings close at midnight on Sunday 19 March and the powerboat sessions are all now full. There are, however, spaces still available for sailing and boardsports, with a variety of specific sessions available. These range from OnBoard and race coaching to windsurfing and winging, plus multihull, dinghy and keelboat, including a chance for people to go sailing in SKUDs, the high performance keelboats previously used in the Paralympics.
The morning is shore-based and then in the afternoon you can simply sign up for the whichever on-water session you feel is most relevant to you, or which you would find interesting simply to give a particular thing a try to see what it’s all about.
We have a 30-strong team delivering the day so this is a fantastic opportunity to get set for the season ahead – tickets are just £30 (RYA member) or £35 (non RYA member) to take part in what will be a really good day out, and lunch is included! We’re really looking forward to seeing you there, secure your place at RYA Midlands Regional Training Day.
The RYA Midlands AGM takes place on Monday 27 March and will be a virtual meeting. If you would like to attend, you simply need to contact us to register so you can be sent a link in advance to join us online, and you can find out more here.
The AGM will include a presentation from our outgoing chair Steven Tinsley from the Regional Volunteer Team. This team comprises a variety of members who work alongside RYA staff and bring their interests and expertise to benefit Midlands boating.
Among them is our regional rules advisor, Steve Watson, whose support for clubs includes local courses, helping with rules and protest queries and informative talks. You may like to read more about this and request a racing rules talk for your club.
A new initiative that I’m keen to launch in 2023 is ‘Ben in a Boat’, which will be an opportunity for you to take me out on the water at your club or training centre!
The idea is that I’ll be able to provide you with an afternoon of practical skills development with a focus on whatever topic you would find useful for your team from the sailing, windsurfing or powerboating schemes. For example, it could be a refresher for your instructors or a chance to hone safety boat skills.
I’m really looking forward to meeting people around the region and if your RYA Affiliated club or centre is keen to host ‘Ben in a Boat’, get in touch along with a subject of your choice for the visit and we’ll make that happen!
A warm welcome to our newest RYA OnBoard accredited venues: Trimpley, Combs, Northampton and Rutland Watersports. These have all seen OnBoard as an opportunity to develop their activities for children and young people and to raise the profile of their youth provision.
While club membership across the Midlands region is generally doing well, youth participation is not yet back to pre-Covid levels. I would encourage clubs and centres to put plans in place to address this: even if you feel OnBoard is not for you, take a look at your youth programme and see if there may be opportunities to do more this year.
Banbury Sailing Club is looking forward to a season of Sailability after gaining accreditation with a commitment to making its activities as accessible as possible for all ages and abilities.
Many people may not look like they need help, or think of themselves as disabled, but even so may still face barriers to getting on the water. Banbury SC is a really good example of how to apply Sailability for the benefit of both existing and potential members.
You can find out more by reading about Banbury SC’s experience of introducing Sailability in our special report, which includes a look at the RYA resources and disability awareness training available to support clubs and centres.
It was fantastic to see Middle Nene Sailing Club celebrating the installation of a defibrillator thanks to the national charity RALPHH.
The charity is keen to support other sailing clubs who would be interested in applying for a grant to likewise install one of these life-saving devices, and you can read all about this exciting initiative here.
Nominations are now open for the RYA Volunteer Awards 2023, so if you know someone who goes the extra mile to support activities on the water or behind the scenes on shore, this is a really wonderful way to say thank you!
Until next time,