“I come from a southern inland city in China and I’d never seen a sailing boat before I joined the Beijing Sailing Centre as a translator in Winter 2014,” says Lucy Liu Juan.
“To start with I learnt English and Chinese sailing terminologies and knew more about sailing theory than sailing well at sea.”
In recent years, the RYA has worked closely with a number of partners in China to develop the provision of RYA training courses. Following a successful pilot, there are now six recognised training centres, all delivering dinghy training in Mandarin – a major milestone for the RYA, which to date has only ever delivered its training courses in English.
Through the establishment of RYA training centres in China, it is hoped the RYA can support centres, clubs and instructors to develop the sport and increase participation.
“On my first sailing experience I was wet, scared of falling in the water and a bit seasick – it did not give me a good impression at first,” Lucy added.
“I’m making progress now and hope to excel more in the future. I spend more time on the water with our instructors, translating from the powerboat and learn more and more each day.
“Independence, freedom and happiness, that’s what sailing has brought to me. I’m looking forward to the next 50 years and hope more and more people in China, as well as around the world, will get to know sailing and fall in love with it like I have.”
Celebrating 50 years of RYA training
In 1970 the RYA Dinghy and Coaching schemes were introduced to assist clubs and sailing schools by providing a national syllabus and method of learning to sail. 50 years on, the RYA has a network of more than 2,400 recognised training centres in 58 countries worldwide and supports the delivery of over 100 different courses.
Some 270,000 people undertake some form of RYA training every year and the programme of courses is no longer exclusive to dinghies, but now encompasses everything from personal watercraft to the inland waterways, the thrill of foiling, the globally respected RYA Yachtmaster™ and so much more.
Share your story for the chance to WIN!
Do you have a story to share? Maybe an RYA training course was the start of a life-long hobby or career on the water? An introduction to friends or loved ones, or the inspiration and starting point for the adventure of a lifetime? Perhaps it even saved your life? Whatever your story, we want to hear how RYA training has impacted you. Please send your images, anecdotes and favourite memories to email@example.com for your chance to win a commemorative whisky glass.
To find out more about the competition, the 50th Anniversary and the history of the RYA training schemes, visit www.rya.org.uk/go/50years. For more information about RYA courses go to www.rya.org.uk/training.