The Chase School, Malvern ruled the waves as they landed the top ‘Best School’ prize for a record-extending 10th time at the 2019 Worcestershire Youth Sailing Association (WYSA) OnBoard Sailing Festival (13 July).
Pupils, aged eight to 17 from 14 local schools, put their sailing skills to the test at Aztec Adventure Upton Warren, where Chase’s team came out on top for the first time since 2016 and for the fourth time in eight years.
The WYSA OnBoard Sailing Festival gives everyone a chance to shine, whether they are a talented racer or have only recently learned the ropes. Prizes were awarded to Lia Horne, who won a close battle in the Topper class, and Harrison Allen, who triumphed in the equally tight Laser class competition. Positions for both classes were not settled until the fourth and final race of the event.
Meanwhile, qualities such as improvement (Amelie Simon) and enthusiasm (Luke Glattback and Isabel McDougall) were recognised and celebrated too, while prizes were also awarded to the less experienced youngsters enjoying the Fun Fleet.
The festival has been running since 1982 under its previous guise of the Worcestershire Schools’ Sailing and Canoeing Association (WSSCA). Many pupils that get involved are introduced to sailing at school through OnBoard, the nationwide grassroots programme run by sailing’s national governing body, the RYA, which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged eight to 18.
As their skills develop, they return to compete at the WYSA OnBoard Regatta year-on-year, with many going on to represent Worcestershire at the prestigious annual National School Sailing Association (NSSA) National Youth Regatta.
Vivien Brookes, WYSA Chair, said: “The Fun group were divided into two teams, with oldest five sailors in Blue Team and youngest six sailors in Red Team. They sailed three sessions in Picos dinghies and took part in lots of team games.The OnBoard programme is all about how sailing can embed different character attributes in young people including creativity, teamwork, determination, communication, independence and confidence.
As the pupils develop, train and compete with WYSA we see all these traits come through more and more. None of this is possible without the volunteers that support WYSA and again there were 22 incredible people at Upton Warren helping out. The last session of the day was on the Aqua Park where some of the volunteers enjoyed joining the sailors!”
As well as sailing, the youngsters also took part in canoe slalom, canoe long distance and bell boat races. Trophies and medals were handed out by Derek Moss, a WYSA founder member. Derek, who remained an active WYSA supporter until two years ago, was also presented with a painting of the lake at Upton Warren to thank him for his contribution over 35 years.
Since 2005, OnBoard has introduced more than 900,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK, converting some 70,000 of them into regular participants. The low cost OnBoard sessions, open to schools, youth groups and youth training organisations, promote equal access to sailing for young people from all social and economic backgrounds, whilst encouraging character development.
For more information about WYSA go to www.wysa.club
or to find out how your school or club could get involved in RYA Onboard visit www.rya.org.uk/go/onboard