Instructors and centre principals rave about RYA Northern Ireland Regional Training Day and windsurfing clinic

Regional Training Day at Strangford Lough Yacht Club a huge success as instructors and centre principals prepare for the upcoming season
26 Mar 24
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Over 60 centre principals, instructors and sailors from across Northern Ireland gathered at Strangford Lough Yacht Club and Newtownards Sailing Club for a weekend of RYA Northern Ireland clinics, allowing them to develop their skills and learn about new RYA schemes.

Ahead of a busy season, it was an ideal way for members to learn how develop sailing and boating at their club. 

Day 1

Saturday was RYA Northern Ireland’s Regional Training Day, hosted by Strangford Lough Yacht Club. It featured a series of fifteen minute workshops, followed by an afternoon on the water.

Topics and updates covered race coaching, how to create effective learning environments, Senior Instructor development and discussions about club programmes and RYA programmes such as the introduction of the new wing scheme.

Ahead of the day, SLYC Principal, Jack Kennedy said: “SLYC is delighted to welcome everyone here today. I’m most looking forward to catching up on the RYA schemes and talking to my colleagues from clubs around Northern Ireland.”

In the afternoon, 30 knots of wind ruled out the possibility of sailing, but despite this, an on the water training went ahead. Powerboat instructors battled the wind, rain, and hail for some great sessions on teaching tips around coming alongside, manoeuvring, man onboard procedures and tiller steer power boats.

Feedback from the day was overwhelmingly positive.

Bryan Monson from East Down Yacht Club said: “It was great day brushing up skills and meeting some other power boat instructors.”

Additionally, Andy, a power boat instructor from Enniskillen said: “I’ve not been to a day like this. It was a great chance to see what’s happening in other centres. I’ll look to bring my other instructors with me next time.”

RYA guest speaker Liz McMaster also commented that it was great to see so many young people in attendance on the day, learning how the RYA aims to grow the skills of the young instructors who do a huge amount of teaching over the summer breaks.

Day 2

Day two involved windsurfing and wing instructors running a clinic hosted at Newtownards Sailing Club.

After a discussion from current numbers and participants about windsurfing and winging, the group came up with an action plan of the next steps needed in these areas. 

Attendees also had a chance to get out on the water and brush up on teaching skills for helping windsurfers with self-development.

Once again, feedback from the event was hugely positive.

Richard Robinson from CAYC said: “It was a great day and a great chance to discuss some of the challenges to the development of wind and windsurfing and winging in NI. I loved having the chance to review my own teaching approach with Liz too.”

Richard also treated all 60 attendees over the two days to a mechanical pencil. It was the perfect accompaniment to the Wetnotes provided by RYA Northern Ireland.

Reflecting on the weekend, RYA Northern Ireland Workforce Development Officer said: “Thanks to everyone who helped me run the day- From the speakers to the Development Committee members, and not least forgetting, Jack Kennedy and the team at SLYC for accommodating us. I’ve come away with even more ideas for next year.”

If you are interested in attending similar events in the future, including the RYA Northern Ireland wing demo day and the windsurfer instructor course, keep your eyes peeled on our events page.

You can also contact RYA Northern Ireland Workforce Development Officer Mary Martin directly by emailing .