Watersports enthusiast James Whitehead has been appointed to take on the role of Sailing Development Officer for the RYA North East region.

James will be working with RYA clubs and training centres to support introductory and regular sailing and windsurfing activity for young people and adults. He will also be available to assist clubs with the delivery of training to support volunteer coaches and instructors.

A former company director and chairman for CSE Ltd, a Department for Education framework company based in Oxfordshire, James has wide-ranging experience of both business development and working with stakeholders to deliver large scale projects.

As a member of Filey SC, he is also a keen watersports enthusiast having grown up in a sailing family, giving him an invaluable insight into the sport at a grassroots level.

“We grew up racing every Sunday in beautiful Filey Bay,” he said. “My dad was Enterprise Fleet Captain and my brothers, sister and I all crewed for him for several years. We also had a Topper which we bought new in 1982 which gave us all the chance to sail on our own. Sailing is a way of life for us!”

James has also been a member of other sailing clubs in the North East and has taken various roles on the committee at Filey SC, including as Commodore during the club’s successful remodelling of its facilities in 2016. His two sons - 10-year-old Thomas and Daniel, aged 8 - are both are part of RYA OnBoard programme and sail RS Tera dinghies.

Following his appointment as RYA North East's Sailing Development Officer, James is now looking forward to encouraging and promoting accessible sailing opportunities for all ages and to working in close partnership with clubs and centres around the region.

Sam Usher, Regional Development Officer for RYA North East, said: "James will be contacting clubs to provide assistance across a whole host of development topics, covering areas such as growing membership, applying for funding and improving facilities, including support for increasing participation through diversifying activities and programmes such as OnBoard."

If your club or centre would like to find out more, James can be contacted here.