The event, which was organised by Seaview Yacht Club, Brading Haven Yacht Club and the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, was open to all the Island’s youngsters aged 8 and upwards who were already being taught sailing through the RYA supported OnBoard programme.  

The children came from clubs around the Island including the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Brading Haven Yacht Club and Seaview Yacht Club as well as children from their schools programmes at Nettlestone Primary School and Brading Primary School. They enjoyed a great day filled with games and sessions on the water, where the youngsters got to sail all types of boats.  

The event was a great social get together for the children to see what it was like to be part of a team. The fun and games on the water included sailing in Dart 16 catamarans, a motor challenge in a RIB and stand up paddle boarding. Games and races were also organised in Pico dinghies.   

The day brought perfect sunshine and favourable winds. In fact the children couldn’t have asked for anything better.   Parents and volunteers from the visiting and host clubs all pitched in to help the day go smoothly.  Peter Holyoake, whose daughter Alice, aged 9, took part said “I never realised my daughter could actually sail! She has taken part in the Onboard programme and I saw her in a boat today for the first time. She had a huge grin on her face and loved the Pico ‘start sailing’ group. Her instructor was so encouraging and the blow-up sharks were brilliant. I don’t know how she has done it! A big thank you to everyone.”  

Rosie from Nettlestone, aged 8, was heard to say at the end of the day “Do I have to go home now? Just one more go on the paddle board please!! I can’t wait till Thursday to come back with my school. It’s been so much fun with my friends.”  

Michael Smith, OnBoard sponsor and ex-Commodore at the Seaview Yacht Club, summed up the day.  “What a fabulous day” he said.  “Superb weather, great teamwork from the clubs and schools involved and an amazing 15 dinghies, multihulls, RIBS and paddle boards for the youngsters to get out on the water,” adding “Let's get a date in the diary for 2020!”    

Jon Curtis of the Seaview Yacht Club added “What a great day. It’s so nice to have us all pulling together and it truly felt like an Island event rather than being part of just one club. This is exactly what OnBoard is about, getting children out enjoying the water together.”  

The Isle of Wight OnBoard Festival is one of several taking place in the south in 2019.  More information about events taking place in Southampton, Portsmouth and Chichester in the coming months.   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.  More information.   For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit www.rya.org.uk/go/onboard.