Nicola's award tops memorable few months for Debdale

Debdale Outdoor Activity Centre's OnBoard graduate, Nicola Stockdale, has achieved the incredible honour of being named 'Young Volunteer of the Year' at the Manchester Sports Awards. Nicola, who turned 17 on 21 November, has been involved at Debdale since 2013 having first learned to windsurf at the centre, and started volunteering about 18 months ago.

To celebrate and profile Nicola's achievements, there will be a full feature on her experiences as a young volunteer in January's In Your Element. But in the meantime we want to say 'well done' and 'thank you' for supporting sailing development Nicola!

In a memorable few weeks, Nicola was one of six Debdale youngsters to qualify as a Dinghy Instructor, with three of these - Nicola, Owen Jones and Siobh�n Doyle - having all come through OnBoard. Nicola and Owen ran their first dinghy course in November.

All these volunteers also supported a successful Debdale Open Day in early November, taking the centre's sailboat �Carol B� to the water under the RYA Sailability flag to give a first experience of sailing to a group of children with disabilities.

Emulating the Greats!

OnBoarders across the South took on the mantle of some of the greatest names in sailing at their RYA OnBoard Festival 2016 at Portsmouth Watersports Centre in September.

No fewer than 66 youngsters were split into five teams, each named after one of the current America�s Cup teams -  Land Rover BAR, Emirates NZL, Team Oracle, Groupama France and Artemis Racing - to try five different activities, windsurfing, canoeing, sailing, giant SUPping (stand up paddle boarding) and kayaking.

Who triumphed? Find out here - Portsmouth OnBoard Festival a great hit for local youngsters

Launch of Lady Leo II boosts Halifax OnBoard

Halifax SC's OnBoarders refused to let strong winds spoil the occasion as they launched their new training Mirror, Lady Leo II, and hosted their first OB Fun Day as they were presented with their official OB plaque by RYA Sailing Development Officer for Yorkshire and Humber, James Wheeldon.

Despite Force 8 gusts scuppering sailing, the new dinghy, generously donated by a club member and his wife, got a well-deserved 'virtual launch' as youngsters, parents and club members enjoyed land-based activities such as throwing lines to a target, sweetie hunt, making model boats using polystyrene, gardening sticks, tape and sail cloth, and a BBQ.

Sue Lamb, Halifax SC OB co-ordinator, said: "We wanted to have a grand launch of our new training Mirror, but I think if we had put it on the water we might not have seen it again! Despite the wind contriving to spoil the day we had an excellent afternoon with a wonderful turnout."

Starting them early

Young race officers, 13-year-old Jack Barnham and 14-year-old Pippa Edwards, helped oversee proceedings as Horning Sailing Club hosted their Junior Regatta and RYA OnBoard Festival in September.

The mixed ability fleet were split into four classes, Fast Handicap, Slow Handicap, Gold (for the more experienced) and Silver (for the less experienced) with some 40 youngsters in total taking part. The week before Horning's youngsters had won the Broadland Youth Regatta Team Trophy,

Find out who won what here - Norfolk youngsters OnBoard at sailing festival