Steve's blog November 2023

Here's our monthly update from Regional Development Officer Steve Mitchell.
06 Nov 23
Launching Topper at St Leonards

Please keep up to date with news and events in our region on Facebook

Winter sailing

It’s getting colder but please don’t hang up your sailing boots, look out for winter series and training such as:

Take a look at your class association and local club websites to find out what’s on.

Sailjuice at Datchet

Photo - Sailjuice event at Datchet

Going viral

Talking of the Topper Travellers, I posted a video of the teamwork taken to launch Toppers at the regional Topper Traveller event at Hastings and St Leonard’s Sailing Club So far it’s got a reach of 44327 and 1204 engagements – a record for any post we’ve done.

If you don’t already please follow us on Facebook 

Connected conference

If you’re looking for something warmer, have you registered yet for the new RYA Connected conference on 26 November? We’ve even more clubs registered than last year for the new venue in Guilford. It’s free to attend and open to all RYA affiliated organisations including clubs, Sailability groups, class associations and race officials, as well as training centres that are based within clubs. (Sailability groups please note there won’t be a separate Sailability conference next February.) There will be a range of forums, workshops and presentations from which you can build a bespoke programme to help your organisation with what matters most to you.

Topics include:

  • Growing and developing your team of volunteers, instructors and race coaches
  • Creating an attractive offer so you can recruit and retain members
  • Building a thriving competitive sailing scene
  • Reducing your operating costs whilst also reducing your organisation’s impact on the planet

Find out more and register 

RYA Connected webinars

Alongside the Connected conference there are a whole host of RYA Connected evening webinars running from now through to the end of March starting with:

  • 6 November - Enable your yacht cruisers to start racing using RYA ATC
  • 13 November - Find the right funder and writing a successful funding application

See the full programme and register 

OnBoard development day

This is the last call please for you to sign up for the OnBoard development day on Saturday 11 November at Queen Mary Sailing Club. Current OnBoard providers are welcome, also clubs and centres which are looking to become OnBoard providers or RYA recognised training centres. It’ll be on land and on water focusing on:

  • OnBoard session cards
  • Improving delivery of OnBoard sessions
  • Involving new schools

In the afternoon there’s the choice of RS21 keelboat sailing or powerboat training.

Read about last year’s event to see what you can look forward to.

Please contact Ben Kimble for more information and book now

Watersports centres meeting

Also the last call please for registering for the watersports centres meeting on 14 November at the AHOY Centre, Deptford, London. It’s aimed at watersports centre managers and chief instructors and is a chance for centres to share ideas, discuss challenges and opportunities. I’ll share regional and national trends that our centres might find valuable, and RYA Chief Instructor Liz McMasters will be our guest for the day. It’s proving popular, so don’t miss out, contact me now to book your place or for more info.

Changing Chairs

A big welcome to Roger Belton who has taken over the role of Chair of our RYA Regional Team, and an equally big thank you to Bernard Sealey, our retiring Chair, for all his work in the position. Also welcome to Steve Long, our new representative for West London sailing clubs, and Charles Hessey representing Medway and Swale Boating Association. We’re always keen to involve new people in the team so if you’re interested in supporting the team or becoming a member please contact me


A number or regional clubs have benefitted in the past from the Active Thames Fund, and the current round closes to applications on November 30 so there’s still time to apply. See also the item above on the Connected webinar on how to apply for funding. 

Active Thames Fund 2023-4 739x432

East London Young Instructor Programme

In the last blog we mentioned this programme, now you can read the full story from its start in 2021 to where it is today, and how it’s addressing the shortage of instructors whilst bringing opportunities to youngsters in diverse communities in London borough.

Share your stories

We’re always looking for stories to pop on our web site and send to your local media, and snippets (two or three sentences) to promote your events or show what you’ve been doing, with photos (landscape format) and links. Or why not send us a short video (15-100 seconds, landscape format) done in one take on your ‘phone to share on our social media. All should have some RYA/regional connection. Other clubs can enjoy your achievements and benefit from your experience. Send us your story