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Gareth's Gossip - May 2016

Gareth NEC Sports Show, participation crunch and swimming?? Yep, it's all here.

Hi all!

I can't believe Push The Boat Out has come around so quickly again.

We're absolutely delighted with the number of opportunities being offered by our clubs and centres for people to try the sport over the next couple of weeks. 

Myself and your Sailing Development Officers for the East and West Midlands, Tricia and Peter, will be out and about at a number of events across the region enjoying seeing the fruits of all your hard work come to fruition.

It's been lovely to see the sunshine a bit the last week or so, and that's just served as a timely reminder that summer is just around the corner which means the America's Cup and Rio 2016. I know I've talked about the opportunities these bring for clubs and centres in our region before but it all feels very close and real now so do make the most of it.

As part of the RYA's overall bid to get more people sailing this year, we will be out in force at The Sports Show at the NEC in Birmingham on 25-26 June. 

We have made a considerable investment in our stand which will include several simulators, activities and dinghies that will hopefully capture the imaginations of some of the 56,000 visitors - yep 56,000 - expected to attend over the two days.   

With this event taking place slapbang in the middle of the Midlands it really is a fantastic opportunity for us to not just promote the sport nationally but at a much more local level too. To help stand visitors who are interested in finding a local Try Sailing or Start Sailing opportunity we are collating a list of events/courses to signpost them towards. 

We would love to be able to promote your opportunities but we need to know what they are!! If you are running activities after the Sports Show (25-26 June) please email me the following details of your events/courses to by no later than Monday 6 June. 

  • Club/centre name
  • Club postcode
  • Type of activity - Try Sailing / Start Sailing course / get back into sailing session / Open Day etc
  • Date
  • Time
  • Cost
  • How to book

I will ensure we help to promote your club/centre. 

Clocking the numbers

I've not really mentioned data collection much recently, and that's largely because our clubs and centres have gotten pretty good at it! This hasn't gone unnoticed and we just want to say thank you for your continued efforts on this front. It does make an absolutely huge difference in the RYA being able to evidence participation levels to Sport England, which impacts directly on the amount of funding into sailing, and ultimately, the support we can give to you.

Another measure of clubs' success is the RYA Affiliated Club Membership Census, and it's just worth noting you will be receiving an email about that over the next month, with a completion deadline of mid-August.

Last year only two clubs in the region didn't submit survey data, and with a response rate of 97%, our return was significantly higher than any other region and well above the 85% national response rate.

This meant we can have more confidence in the findings of the survey, and make better informed decisions for our clubs both at a regional and national level. We would love to hit the same highs this year so please do start thinking about who needs to be involved in pulling this information together this time around.

In the meantime you can revisit the 2015 census revisit the 2015 census results here.

There is also still time to complete the RYA Vital Signs Survey, which aims to find out more about, and better understand the challenges you face to help inform the RYA's actions to help protect your future, facilities and access to boating waters. You can read what it all means and how to complete the survey here - What Challenges Do You Face?

Is this something that's happened to you too?

I got an email from one of our clubs last week asking if any other clubs or centres were having an issue with wild swimmers wanting to swim at the same time sailors were on the water. This club reported they were visited on a Saturday by a member of a wild swimmers Facebook group intending to swim with others whilst the club was racing. 

Fortunately the thought of sailors not being able to see heads in the water as they raced was enough to put the swimmers off, but the club suggested this was not a one off.

Have you have experienced anything similar? If so please let us know as if it's becoming a Midlands-wide concern we will able to gather information for RYA HQ to get further advice and guidance on dealing with some of the delicate water use issues at stake. We have already put the club in question in touch with RYA Legal who are able to support affiliated clubs with such issues. 

Wild swimming isn't a bad thing. In fact it can present a brilliant opportunity and we've got at least one club in the Midlands who has successfully linked up with a triathlon club to run swimming for their members. It's just the swimmers and boats that don't mix so if that has been an issue for you too let us know. We really don't want anyone to get hurt. 

Want to lend a hand at the National Junior Watersports Festival?

The National Junior Watersports Festival takes place at Rutland Watersports on the 6-7 August, and we're looking for volunteer RYA Windsurf Instructors to run taster sessions for at least half a day. 

Last year the event attracted 150 young people and the range of activities on offer will include taster sessions, skills clinics and competitions in windsurfing, SUP’s and kayaking. The event is supported by the windsurfing trade, the professional sailors and RYA. Please make sure the young windsurfers at your club are aware of this great opportunity!

In return for volunteering we can provide you with a free launch ticket to be used at Rutland Watersports (to be used within two months after the event), free entry to the National Junior Watersports Festival site and free entry to both evening parties at the National Watersports Festival that takes place at Hayling Island on the 2-4 September (the ticket for this is worth £40!) If you can support please email Graham Colam at Rutland Watersports at and copy me in.

Have a great month everyone, and hopefully by the time I'm writing next month's Gossip we will have introduced hundreds, if not thousands, more people to sailing in the region :)


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