OnBoard is a hugely successful grass roots programme which seeks to make sailing and windsurfing easier to access for 8-18 year olds.
Michelle Cannon from Adur takes up the story:
We are thrilled to be accepted onto the Onboard scheme. We had been wondering about it from the end of our season last year. Myself and one of our team joined the RYA Instructor Day in March and attended an OnBoard workshop. We realised our ethos is very much the same as OnBoard but that we weren't part of it.
We take children from the age of 10 and teach them how to sail in a fun and safe environment. We are supportive of each other and have the new members taught by the senior sailors (and adult instructors). There is a great family feel to our club, everyone is welcome, everyone is valued and everyone has an important part to play!
Why did we join? We were pretty much doing everything OnBoard without having the OnBoard sign above the door. The ethos marries up to our own.
This year we have begun online fun training for our theory sessions and sailing starts on Sunday for all of last year’s members. Our beginners join a couple of weeks later and then get to sail all year, making friends and learning skills as they go.
Our highlights for the year include a family sail and BBQ - take your siblings or parents out for a sail and then enjoy some food together. Our Topper Fun Day is also a hit - spend a day in a team of four on a topper. Fun races, activities and a lot of capsizing add to the mix.
We have recently applied for a grant for some new boats.
Thomas (17) says: “I first joined Adur Sailing Club seven years ago. Back then, it was in a different building, meetings were organised differently and it even had a different name. But, through all of those changes, the core of the club has remained the same. We train kids who have never sailed before and we turn them into instructors, not through rigorously intensive training exercises, but through years of building up confidence, skill and (most importantly of all) a love for getting out on the water and having some fun.
“It’s an environment that allows people to flourish at their own pace, in the company of like-minded and similarly capable individuals who become close friends within weeks. This club has given me a way to bond better with my family, a decent number of RYA qualifications, a large group of new people to spend my time with and some of the most entertaining Thursday evenings of my entire life. I could not value it more highly and I know for a fact that there are dozens of others who feel exactly as I do, and that, with any luck, there will be dozens more to come.”
Ella (11) adds: “I have been wanting to go to the sailing club ever since the day my dad joined. Him and my brothers would tell me how great it felt out on the water and I was just waiting until I could be one of them. It is such a great place to just go and enjoy yourself, make friends and help each other. Everyone is kind and caring and accepting and it is amazing being out on the water sailing with friends. I can’t wait to get back after lockdown because it means so much to me!”
Hannah Cockle, RYA OnBoard Operations Officer, comments; “It’s great to welcome Adur Sailing Club to the OnBoard programme. Getting out on the water has a huge amount of benefits, no matter what your age, background or ability. We look forward to working with them and the local community in the future to get as many people as possible enjoying our great sport.”
Launched in 2005 OnBoard has helped introduce over 900,000 young people across the country to sailing and windsurfing.
Find out more about Adur Sailing Club and RYA OnBoard