The Royal Dart Youth Sailing Trust was set up in June 2016 as a legacy of the 150-year celebration of the club. The charity aims to help young people to benefit from being able to sail and especially those who might otherwise not have the opportunity. As well as supporting Royal Dart Yacht Club (RDYC) junior sailing it aims to make it possible for more local youngsters to have a chance to try sailing. This year it has supported a week of school taster days for 60 local year six children. 

The pupils from Dartmouth Academy, Kingswear, East Allington, Blackawton and Stoke Fleming Primary School each spent a day learning to sail in Tera and Vision dinghies with teenage RYA-qualified Assistant Instructors from the club and enjoyed the chance to cool off in the river practising capsize drills. 

Following this success, ten young people aged 16-22 recently completed the RYA competent crew course in a joint venture between the Trust and Torbay Sea School during the first week of the school holidays. Some came from local schools in Dartmouth, some were previous participants in Junior Sailing at RDYC and others were from Scouts, Devon Young Farmers and home education groups. The Trust was able to sponsor some of their places. 

The course is designed to help people become confident and useful members of crew whether or not they have previous dinghy or sailing experience. Two yachts with six boys and four girls plus their two Torbay RYA instructors spent five days aboard sailing from Kingswear along the coast and to Salcombe. All ten became competent helms and so towards the end practised bringing the boats alongside a pontoon in the Dart river, watched discreetly, if somewhat anxiously, by the RDYC (Royal Dart Yacht Club) owners with binoculars from Kingswear.

Three are already planning more training to become RYA Day Skippers. Another has been asked by Trinity Sailing to be bosun on Provident (a sail training ship) for the week.

Building on the first year's success, the Trust's future aspirations include subsidising RYA courses, improving training and changing facilities and purchasing new boats. 

Most of its initial funds have come from generous local sailors who have a passion to help young people get on the water and believe sailing is good for fitness, character and resilience. A Spanish Evening and auction of vintage sherry raised £1400. Other collections have been made from a club Boys in Boats and Beer event, a youth sailing barbecue and the coffee 'honesty tin'. Future plans include a club race as well as approaching national charities for support.

For more information contact Dr Nicky Lee, Chairman RDYST c/o Royal Dart Yacht Club, Priory St, Kingswear, Devon TQ6 0AB

Royal Dart Youth Sailing Trust Charity No 1167579