The Pathway Club programme aims to develop club structures to assist with the growth of young people taking part and racing at their local sailing clubs. It also allows the sailors to develop their skills and to move into the junior classes and join RYA Northern Ireland’s Youth Sailing Pathway. The programme is a reinvigoration of the previous ‘RYA Champion Club’ programme.

RYA Northern Ireland’s High Performance Manager, Matt McGovern, commented: “Pathway Clubs are essential to the development and growth of young sailors in our sport. “These clubs are making sailing enjoyable for young sailors, while also helping them learn many of the basic skills required to progress in our sport.”

McGovern added: “Without sailors gaining this knowledge at their clubs we would be left with a large gap in the system, between learning to sail, and racing. This would make it very challenging for sailors to move on to the RYA Performance Pathway.”

Clubs that run regular race training and racing, adapted to suit younger sailors would make a good Pathway Club, as well as any club that attracts new young sailors.

Speaking about the programme, Owen McKinley from Cushendall Sailing and Boat Club (CSBC) said: "RYANI Pathway Club has helped a number of our sailors improve their sailing skills by running regular race train sessions at our club by a number of RYA trained Race Coaches. By doing so we have seen six CSBC sailors reaching the RYA Performance Pathway, one of which placed first at the RYANI Youth Championships."

Sheela Lewis from County Antrim Yacht Club commented: “As a Race Coach, the Pathway Club programme offers a structured but flexible framework for our Club race coaching sessions. We can adapt the principles to suit the range of ages and skills within our junior and youth teams. “This approach has developed sailors who have enjoyed success at the higher levels of performance racing and equally important, has provided the path to follow on from the RYA Youth sailing schemes. This format has increased the confidence in young sailors who have fun competing at Club level and have developed new friendships, which they were not expecting!”

Clubs that are looking for guidance and advice should contact RYA Northern Ireland’s Performance Development Officer James Farrell by email at

To become a Pathway Club, a club should complete a short form which will then need to be verified by RYA.

To find out more, contact: James Farrell Performance Development Officer M:07808860704  | E:
Matthew McGovern High Performance Manager
  M: +44 7384 253526 | E: