Plymouth Youth Sailing (PYS) is celebrating almost a year of breakdown-free RIBs (rigid inflatable boats), and the hosting of a number of national and regional championships, thanks to a sizeable grant from a charity in 2018. It is now looking forward to hosting the pinnacle of youth sailing in the UK, the RYA Youth Nationals, in 2021.  

A parent of one of the PYS volunteer members works for landfill company SUEZ and nominated the club for a charitable donation. Commodore Adrian Kemp explained: “It took some time to convince SUEZ that, with three sides of the city surrounded by water, Plymouth has a range of BLUE playing spaces rather than green, and that we needed to refurbish our fleet of safety RIBs, when they were expecting to pay for pavilions or pitches.”  

The process started in April 2017, and it took most of the year for PYS to meet SUEZ’s requirements, in terms of match-funding £7,500. They then they managed to find another £3,000 thanks to Trinity House, a local charitable trust, and members’ fundraising events, including involvement in the Elinor Creek Eddystone Pursuit Race.  

Having unlocked the funding, PYS completely re-tubed and re-engine two five-metre and one six-metre Tornado RIBs, and were then able to re-engine another six-metre RIB with funds raised by club members.  

Adrian added: “We looked at this as a vital piece of our development work, because as a club, working with the Mount Batten Centre, we aim to deliver national and regional championships to the highest standard for fleets of up to 200 dinghies. With the work completed before April 2018, we were able to host three nationals - including the D-Zero and the Lasers (180 boats for a full week) last summer, which was a fantastic achievement for a small club. In all we were supported by 56 volunteers, who gave over 3,263 hours of their time to support events. All of our regular club night sessions also took place without breakdowns, and we’ve delivered over 75 sessions over the year with a first-rate fleet of boats. In fact, there’s been a knock-on effect too: when they saw what we’d done, the Mount Batten Centre decided to refurbish their own boats as well, in order to keep up with our new image!  

“In 2019, we hope to refurbish our last two RIBS to the same standard in order to complete the project, whilst hosting three national and two regional championships. Fundraising is already underway, with the money for one boat having already been raised. We look forward to a busy, but rewarding sailing season in 2019.”  

The RYA Youth National Championships are held annually during the Easter holidays - the UK’s premier youth racing event and a must for young sailors looking to test their racing skills against the country’s best. Racing takes place in British Youth Sailing Recognised Classes and the results are used to select the British Youth Sailing Team to represent Great Britain at international regattas as well as the domestic youth squad for the year ahead.  

Plymouth was picked for 2021 following an RYA bid process in recognition of its world-class sailing waters.