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Gareth's Gossip - March 2016

Gareth RDO talks 2016 opportunity, local event promo new Community Officer and more

Hi everyone!

The season is finally here, and 2016 has massive potential to make a big impact on the numbers of people sailing in our region.

The latest Watersports Participation Survey, published last week, painted a positive picture of the appetite for getting out on the water in this country, as poor weather conditions and an overall downward trend experienced across recreational sports last year, boating outperformed many of its counterparts in terms of UK participation.

Some 3.2m UK adults participated in one or more of 12 boating activities in 2015, which equals 6.5% of the total adult population in this country. You can read the full report by clicking on the See Also link to the right.

What does this mean for us?

Rio 2016 in August and September, and the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in July will bring huge exposure to sailing. As always we will be competing against every other sport looking to maximise the piqued interest in sport that comes around an Olympics, but we are gearing up to be a step ahead of the game.

The Olympics take place between 5-21 August and the Paralympics 7-18 September. The America's Cup World Series Portsmouth is on 21-24 July.

So what can you do?

  • May's Push the Boat Out gets the sport of sailing on the national agenda before the summer even really gets into full swing, and if you haven't already signed up to run a have-a-go event or Open Day between 14-22 May, there is still time to do so by clicking on the Elsewhere on the Web link to the right.
  • Is your club attending a local town or county show this year? If not is there still time to find one to get a spot at? We can support you in really drawing attention to yourselves by lending you the RYA gazebo/events pack. This includes a 3m x 3m gazebo which has great graphics and is branded 'Go Sailing'. Contact me to book the event pack.
  • Could you run an Open Day / 'taster' try sailing opportunity / course after the Americas Cup World Series as an alternative or extra event?
  • Many, many of you run courses in the late summer and autumn so could you boost sign up, and capitalise on the Olympic buzz, by running a have-a-go day in the days / on a weekend after the Games has finished. 

We want people to feel like sailing is actually something within their reach, not something so complicated and expensive it's something for other people. 

  • How much a month can a family be members of your club for? £10-20 a month for a family is instantly something they can connect with so use it in your marketing.
  • Got club boats? Make a point of stressing how you don't need to own a boat to sail and club members (who have achieved a certain level of competency) can hire boats for as little as £5 or whatever it might be.
  • Also don't talk about racing early on - this can be intimidating and potentially off putting to newcomers who can barely comprehend steering the boat themselves let alone being competitive. 

You want people to enjoy their first sailing club experience and be pleasantly surprised by the people who are actually members of sailing clubs in our region and how social the sport is as well as their actual time on the water obviously!

Whatever ideas you have to make the most of the 2016 opportunity we would love to hear them and help you promote them so keep us posted. Our regional contacts can be found via the See Also link to the right.

Welcome Benn!

We are really delighted to welcome Benn Freeman to the team as our new Community Development Officer for Birmingham.

Some of you may already know Benn through his role as Training Principal at Tamworth SC. Now he has the chance to get his teeth into the task of increasing the diversity and inclusivity of sailing participation and club membership our region, and start to make the clubs and centres in the area more representative of their communities.    

This is a long-term project so Benn will be spending his first few months familiarising himself with what we already do, the organisations we could potentially work with and the clubs in his patch. Although he will only be working in Birmingham we will work hard to share his learnings as the project develops.

We look forward to seeing the difference we believe Benn can make.

Get on the Yachts & Yachting Regatta Listings

Is your club running a multi-class, open regatta this summer? If so Yachts and Yachting Magazine want to hear from you! 

Y&Y are compiling the definitive guide to regatta weeks big and small across the UK, details of which will be published in the May issue of Yachts & Yachting. Get yours in by clicking on the Elsewhere on the Web link to the right.

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