It's the time of year we invite Midlands clubs to host our regional dinghy fleets for the 2018 season. But before you think 'that sounds a lot of work' and write it off here's five reasons you might want to reconsider…

1. You get free boats for the season

There are seven regional fleets that need homes for 2018.

  • 3 fleets of six Toppers 
  • 2 fleets of six Optibats
  • 2 Laser Bahias
  • 2 Laser Vagos
The purpose of these fleets is so our clubs can draw on additional boats at times they need extra, so Junior Weeks for example. All four sets of boats are on road trailers and the fleets can be hired for a flat rate of £60 per day for the Toppers and Oppies and £40 per day for the Bahias and Vagos. But when they're not hired out to another club the host club has free reign to use the boats for whatever you wish.

2. You can work with new groups or expand current activities

Although you might instantly think 'if other clubs want them, they will never be here' the reality is most hire activity happens at the weekends and school holidays. That gives you the chance to work with new groups or extend your activities in the week. 

You could engage with a new school or youth group? You could expand your junior club? If you host the Bahias, possibly run some targeted women or family sessions? Or if it's the Vagos, maybe add these to your race training programme? If you did want to use the boats at a peak time, and/or another club wanted to book them for the same days, you would need to pay the hire fee to secure the booking. 

3. There are two new boats this season

The two Bahias are new additions to the regional fleet. At 15ft, with the capacity for one to five people, they are proper family boats and perfect for Open Days or taster sails. Make use of them outside of your main Push The Boat Out event(s) or maybe take parents and siblings out if they're waiting for kids doing OnBoard etc?

4. You don't have to manage the hire process or delivery

This is all taken care of by fleet manager, Peter Dunn. The RYA Midlands website here - Regional Fleet Hire - has all the hire information and booking calendar so you can see when boats have been booked out and when you're free to use them. Plus a delivery service is available with the fee to be paid by the hiring club. All we ask of any hiring club is the equipment leaves the club and is returned in the correct condition. This applies to host clubs who use the boat ahead of a hire too.

5. You won't be left out of pocket

The boats are owned and managed by the Regional Volunteer Team. There maybe occasions when something breaks or the boats simply require a bit of TLC during the season. In those circumstances, speak to Peter and let him know what needs doing. It might be he asks if the club can get it fixed or sorted or if it's a bigger issue he would probably need to get involved. Either way it will be at no financial cost to you.

So what do you reckon? It's a pretty good deal right? If your club would like to host on of the regional fleets this year, or you have any questions, please send your expression of interest or queries to Peter Dunn at no later than Thursday 15 March 2018.