Fun in the sun for OnBoard Festivals at Bala and Dale​

Racing and games inspire junior sailors and windsurfers​
06 Sep 23

Variety of youth and junior boats with sails up on shore on a sunny day at Dale waiting to launch for the RYA Cymru Wales OnBoard Festival.

Nearly a hundred young sailors and windsurfers had fun and honed their skills on the water at two RYA Cymru Wales OnBoard Festivals over the weekend.

A two-day event was hosted for the South and West at Dale Yacht Club and Celtic Sea Watersports (2-3 September 2023) alongside a Saturday event for the North at Bala Sailing Club.

At Dale, 49 young sailors and windsurfers took part up to five races each, along with a whole range of activities which also saw their siblings and parents getting afloat aboard giant SUPs and Canadian canoes, with a Sunday morning of fun in next-to-no wind followed by a lunchtime prizegiving.

Building skills

Hester Walker, West Wales Club Development Officer, said: “Although the wind was not too enthusiastic about coming out to play, our fantastic OnBoard juniors were definitely keen!

“OnBoard festivals are a really fun way to build skills and confidence for new sailors and windsurfers and aspiring racers, and that’s certainly what we had at both Dale and Bala. 

In addition to the racing this is the first time we’ve had a multi-offer with other activities as well like paddleboarding - looking at the photos and the joy on the faces of the parents and siblings as young as five who were also able to get on the water it was quite evidently a hit!

“A massive thank you to all our lovely sailors, race officials, parents and volunteers for supporting us and helping to make it such a memorable weekend. In particular we wouldn’t be able to run these events without volunteers so their contribution is hugely appreciated by us all.”

Lots of smiling people having fun on a giant paddleboard at the RYA Cymru Wales OnBoard Festival at Dale.

The ethos of the OnBoard Festivals is to build on club training by providing a sheltered water coached environment for sailors, windsurfers and parents from clubs across Wales to enjoy a friendly relaxed event, including inviting more experienced racers helping the newer ones.

Coordinating the Bala event was Sarah McGovern, Performance Manager Wales, who said: “It was fantastic to see 40 entries at Bala with a range of clubs and classes. Although it was a very light wind day and we had no ‘official’ racing there was still lots of fun, with new friendships made and some top tips taken away. A huge thank you to everyone who helped and to Bala Sailing Club for hosting.”

Thanks also go to Ade Owens for capturing the spirit of the events with his photographs of the activities on day one and day two of the OnBoard Regatta at Dale.

Join in

Next up in the major events calendar is the RYA Cymru Wales Youth & Junior Championships, taking place 23-24 September 2023 at Plas Heli, Pwllheli, offering something for everyone from rookies to experienced racers with Regatta and Championship fleets. Entry now open.

In the meantime, look out for Dragon Series events at a club near you. These offer a welcoming and supportive environment for newcomers alongside great competition for racing sailors. 

Upcoming dates include Tenby YC for the West this weekend, 9-10 September; Mumbles YC in the South on Saturday 9 September; and Shotwick Lake SC for the North on 14 & 21 October.

Blow away the back-to-school blues and join in! Find out more at ourRYA Cymru Wales events hub.

A sunny day with five Topper dinghies with red white and blue sails and an Optimist dinghy crossing the startline near a committee boat for a race at the RYA Cymru Wales OnBoard Festival at Dale.