Entries for the first ever Regional Fun OnBoard Regattas are now open!
Taking place as an 'event within an event' as part of the new British Youth Sailing Regional Youth Championships over the weekend 29-30 September, OnBoarders and clubs now have opportunity to be a massive part of this regional end-of-season celebration of all junior sailing.
So what do you need to know...
1) It's not racing - there is a separate 'Coached Racing' fleet for inexperienced youngsters who can sail around triangle course and want to start racing, but the Fun OnBoard fleet is exclusively about having fun with their friends.
2) 'Games with aims' is the name of the game - run by RYA qualified coaches, it could be anything from blindfolded sailing, follow my leader, tying and popping balloons on boats, capsizing games, really anything! These help kids to improve their sailing without even realising they're doing it.
3) Who it's targeting - the Fun OnBoard fleet is open to sailors who have completed RYA Stage 1 and are ideally aged under 13 on 31 December 2018.
4) Getting social - having fun with friends is one of, if not, the most important factor in keeping kids in any activity, sport or otherwise. Kids will, as far as possible, sail two-up during the regatta with a focus on being part of a team, both with their clubs and the wider OB family.
5) It's about keeping kids sailing for longer - most regions run OnBoard Regattas during the season, but by adding this focus event to the calendar in September it's hoped it will keep sailors interested until later in the season, while it's also less of a break before they come back next year.
6) A taste for travel - there will inevitably be youngsters even amongst your newest OB recruits that develop a competitive streak. This is the first chance to for them, and possibly even their clubs and parents, to experience what it's like to travel to an event. The aim would be for the sailors to progress to the 'Coached Racing' fleet next year, if they want to start racing.
7) Get your club involved - if you're bringing sailors why not bring an instructor as an extra pair of hands and a familiar face for your kids too? There will no doubt be heaps of ideas shared and nuggets to pick up and use back at your club.
8) Recognising the things that matter - spot prizes, rewarding attitude, teamwork, improvement and commitment, and other fun awards will be handed out over the weekend and there will also be a prize for the club bringing the most sailors to each region's Championships.
9) Cost of entry is reduced - each region's Fun OnBoard regatta will be completely different. Some events are one day, others are both, but the cost is no more than £25 per day, and in some regions is just £20, less than half the £45 that Main Fleet sailors pay to enter.
10) Where the events are taking place - here you go...