Salcombe Dinghy Sailing (SDS) has welcomed a landmark study by the Institute of Education at University College London (UCL) which has clearly shown that being part of RYA OnBoard (OB) has a positive impact on young people’s lives.  

Ross and Zoe Crook who own Salcombe Dinghy Sailing (SDS), have been running covid-safe OnBoard youth development sessions since August with six teenagers who are progressing their sailing skills in preparation for training as instructors next year. According to Zoe, the five boys and one girl are already increasing in confidence and improving their technique, using different areas of the estuary to explore and expand their experience of sailing: “The OnBoard sessions are getting them to think differently about their sailing skills, testing them a bit, and they’re realising how much they’re improving. These sessions work on all the attributes identified in the research, including creativity, teamwork, determination, communication, independence and confidence, all of which are important life skills, and will help to make sure the youngsters become excellent instructors when the time comes, as well as well-rounded young adults. The sessions will continue from next April, so by June, more of them will have the prospect of employment as AIs with us next year.”  

Watch the video about the OnBoard Impact Study here   

Covid-compliance has been an important consideration in getting the youngsters on the water safely this year, allowing Ross and Zoe to plan confidently for further OnBoard activity from next April. This will include getting eight local schools involved in teaching children to sail, using the OB programme, which links to the school curriculum, and also starting an OB weekend club from April to October, for which 14 local children are already signed up.  

Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18, connecting schools and youth groups with RYA clubs and training centres. 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.  

Children and Sailing: A research evaluation for the Royal Yachting Association and the Andrew Simpson Foundation* was conducted by UCL researchers to examine the consequences of participation in the OnBoard programme.  

The results have helped to identify how the programme contributes to the development of the RYA OB character attributes: creativity, teamwork, determination, communication, independence and confidence.   

It also highlights how sailing and windsurfing correlate with benefits identified for physical activity generally and identifies how RYA OnBoard plays an important role in tackling social injustice by providing unique experiences which can help to develop self-confidence and open up further opportunities.  

Find out how to get involved in sailing and OnBoard   

*371 young people (aged 8-17), from 19 schools and 14 sailing clubs or commercial sailing centres, completed before (baseline) and after (follow-up) questionnaires to assess the impact of being part of RYA OnBoard. Additionally, 11 instructors, teachers and parents/carers were also interviewed by qualitative researchers.