As the summer season draws to a close, and we also catch a breath from implementing all the changes that this year has brought, now is the perfect time to recover and catch up with all the latest OnBoard learnings and resources available.

To help with this we recently held two online OnBoard training sessions for Instructors from clubs and centres in the South West and East regions. As we get closer to the start of the sailing season next year, we will also put theory into practise with some on water sessions which will implement some of the ideas from the virtual sessions.

Don’t worry – no-one will miss out. We hope to run more OnBoard training sessions for Instructors around the country. So here’s a run-down of what took place recently and what you, your club or centre and Instructors can also look froward to.

Sailing – more than just a sport

Rob Howlett, South West RDO and Hannah Cockle, RYA OnBoard Operations Officer, joined forces to offer Assistant, Dinghy and Senior Instructors in the South West region an update on OnBoard and the new resources that are available to help run sessions for junior members.

The OnBoard virtual training session consisted of an overview of the research conducted with the University of Winchester and Professor Bill Lucas. Hannah also went on to introduce the concept of Growth Mindset – when youngsters can be open to challenges and enjoy new things – and also introduced the new OnBoard Improver session cards. Participants then ran through some ideas on how Instructors can run OnBoard sessions incorporating the new research and session cards. We know that not all of the OnBoard venues have received these new cards yet and hope they will be with everyone soon.

Don’t just take our word for it…

“Thank you for this evening’s session on the new OnBoard session cards. It was very inspiring.”

“Excellent session tonight – thanks to all & especially Hannah for presenting. Yes with bells on please to register for the new Get OnBoard pack…with my ethos of Learning through Play, the OnBoard packs sound perfect.”

“Thank you and Hannah for the webinar. I found it very interesting.”

OnBoard Improver Sailing Session cards

The new OnBoard Improver Sailing Session cards are designed to bridge the gap between RYA Stages 2 & 3 through regular participation and practise. Following on from the first lot of OnBoard Session Cards – which covered Stages 1 & 2 – these six new sets are packed full of ideas to inspire and motivate both new and experienced instructors to help young sailors improve their knowledge and skills.

Like the first cards, each of the Improver Sailing sessions are linked to an OnBoard character attribute and come as full A4 and A6 ‘pocketsize’ waterproof versions to use on and off the water. But unlike the first set, the new cards can be used in any order depending on the skill or experience level of the group or the conditions.

The six sets of Improver Session cards are…

  • Seamanship – Confidence
  • Boat Handling – Creativity
  • Five Essentials – Independence
  • Racing – Determination
  • Double Handed Sailing – Communication
  • Sail Away – Teamwork
 During the Virtual training session for Instructors in the East region, Jennifer Miller, East Sailing Development Officer, kicked the session off with a fun ice-breaker (everyone had to build a boat out of everyday objects in the house!) The virtual training session then introduced some of the OnBoard resources available for venues and Instructors and reviewed how to use them with youngsters during OnBoard sessions – both on and off the water.

Embedding the OnBoard character attributes within sessions

Since the RYA OnBoard Programme was re-launched in 2017, with the support of Professor Bill Lucas from the University of Winchester, we have been promoting the concept that sailing and windsurfing, as challenging outdoor activities, help young people to develop six key attributes:

  1. Creativity
  2. Teamwork
  3. Communication
  4. Determination
  5. Independence
  6. Confidence

Jen introduced these concepts and the Instructors in the East region then addressed the question of how do we, as Instructors, embed these attributes within our OnBoard sessions so that they are sustainable and most importantly, are transferred into the young sailors home and school lives.

With the help of the new OnBoard session cards, Instructors then discussed how these attributes can be incorporated into practical sessions. It was agreed that the session cards - which include several opportunities for Instructors to link them into sessions to further life skills – were found to be very useful. As mentioned above, we hope to send these cards out to all OnBoard venues soon.

As Jen commented during the session: “As instructors we need to understand these attributes, as much as we understand the sailing skill that we are teaching. The new session cards help us to achieve this. They give lots of top tips and character developer notes through-out for each OnBoard session. They also include information on how to effectively de-brief at the end of each OnBoard session. All very useful practical information to help Instructors develop sessions which incorporate these attributes.”

What’s next?

Venues which took part in the virtual sessions will now be offered a FREE follow-up on water session. This will take place at the start of the sailing season next year, and will help put some of the theory learnt in the virtual training sessions into practise. 

As well as the session cards, other supporting resources available to all OnBoard venues - including a 'Broader Learning' booklet which gives detailed background into our research, and a fold out leaflet for teachers, which includes how sailing and windsurfing can be linked to the National Curriculum.

An App is also in development, watch this space!

How do I take part?

Now is the time to learn all about all the OnBoard key attributes and how to incorporate them into next summer’s successful OnBoard sessions.

If you, or any of your instructors, would like to take part in a similar FREE OnBoard virtual training session then please contact your relevant Regional contact:

South – Regional Development Officer Susie Moore – susie.moore@rya.org.uk

East – Sailing Development Officer Jen Miller Jen.Miller@rya.org.uk

South West – Rob Howlett Regional Development Officer - Rob.Howlett@rya.org.uk

Midlands - Sailing Development Officer Patricia Ordsmith - Patricia.Ordsmith@rya.org.uk

London & South East - Sailing Development Officer Ben Kimbell - ben.kimbell@rya.org.uk

North East Regional Development Officer Sam Usher sam.usher@rya.org.uk

North west Regional Development Officer Adam McGovern – adam.mcgovern@rya.org.uk

RYA Cymru Wales ruth.iliffe@ryacymruwales.org.uk

RYA Northern Ireland mary.martin@rya.org.uk

RYA Scotland admin@ryascotland.org.uk