No less than 43 young OnBoarders all under the age of 14 came along for a great day of junior sailing at the Andrew Simpson Watersports Centre (ASWC).  

The event, which was organised by ASWC, was open to all youngsters in the Portsmouth area aged 8 and upwards who were already being taught sailing through the RYA supported OnBoard programme.  

Children from the ASWC OnBoard programme and others from clubs and organisations around the area all came along to take part. They enjoyed a great day filled with games and sessions on the water, where they got to have a go at dinghy sailing challenges and games, as well as stand up paddleboarding, kayaking and having a go at windsurfing.

The kids had to work together to win ‘Capture the Duck’ in their boats to collect as many floating rubber ducks as possible to be the winner of the game!   In perfect sunshine, with ideal conditions on the water, the event was a great social get-together too, giving kids a great opportunity to see what it is like to be part of a team. Everyone enjoyed a barbecue too.  

Parents and volunteers all pitched in to help the day go smoothly.  Mike Savage brought his two grandchildren down for the day.  “Watching my grandchildren have so much fun has been a delight,” he said.  “Seeing how much they enjoyed the sailing has sparked my enthusiasm to learn myself, so we can go out sailing as a family!”  

Another mother said “It was great to see my son have a go at all the activities. He has never windsurfed before and was quite nervous, but the team were amazing and he came off the water with a massive smile on his face! You could say he took to it like a duck to water! “  

Nicky Adamson, Sales and Communications Coordinator at ASWC, reported “The Festival was a brilliant day.  It was great to have so many local kids coming together to have fun and make new friends in the sport.”  

The overall team winner for the sailing games was Team Blue while spot prizes were given out to children who the team judged did exceptionally well including prizes for determination, team work and confidence.   

The Portsmouth RYA OnBoard Festival is one of three that have already taken place in the south in 2019.  The fourth and final Festival of the season will take place in Chichester Harbour on 31 August.  For more information and to book, visit our web page.    Have a look at our video.    

Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres.    Being on the water creates multiple situations where young people are challenged as they learn this new and exciting sport. From problem solving, and decision making, to leadership and teamwork, young OnBoarders will learn valuable life skills, all whilst having fun and making friends on the water.

OnBoard provides a safe structure for this to happen and a great environment to help develop, stimulate and strengthen both mind and body. The low cost sessions are designed to promote equal access to sailing for young people from all social and economic backgrounds, whilst encouraging their character development.  

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.   For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit the OnBoard web page