RYA's OnBoard : Celebration as 1500 more kids try sailing in Birmingham and Worcestershire

Wednesday, 08 September 2010

Around 1,500 children across Birmingham and Worcestershire have been introduced to sailing and windsurfing through the RYA’s OnBoard grassroots programme this year.

And on Sunday (12 September) some 40 of those rookies will descend on Bartley Sailing Club in Birmingham to put their new skills to the test at the 2010 Birmingham Partnership OnBoard Festival. 

RYA OnBoard is all about providing youngsters from local schools, community organisations and youth groups with opportunities to get their first taste of sailing and windsurfing and give them the chance to continue participating at low cost.

The sessions take place at six specially-designated OnBoard clubs in Birmingham and Worcestershire, which are considered recognised RYA centres of excellence for teaching and instruction, ensuring the kids get access to the best first experience possible to enjoy themselves while learning new sailing skills.

This weekend’s OnBoard Festival will see the new sailors, representing four of the six Birmingham Partnership OnBoard clubs, take part in a series of fun games and short races while it will also be the first time many of them will get to test their fledgling sailing skills against like-minded newcomers from other clubs.

With another 1,500 kids getting their first taste of sailing and windsurfing this summer, an incredible 5,200 Birmingham and Worcestershire youngsters in total have now been introduced to the sports since OnBoard began in the region with no fewer than 48 schools across Birmingham and Worcestershire now linked with OnBoard.

Tom Davenport, RYA OnBoard Development Officer for the Birmingham Partnership, admits the programme’s popularity never ceases to amaze him.

He said: “Once we have introduced the kids to sailing and windsurfing through RYA OnBoard the next step is to encourage them to join one of the regular OnBoard junior clubs in their area and get involved with some regular sailing. What we want is for these youngsters to develop a love of the sport and stay involved for life.

“Birmingham Outdoor Education Centre at Bartley Sailing Club is a great example of just how popular the programme is, and what success stories can come out of OnBoard, as their K20 club has a membership of 40 kids with a waiting list of 50 kids and one of their members, Crispin Beaumont, came fourth in the first ever RS Tera class World Championships this summer.”

Tom added: “The OnBoard Festivals are always great fun and it is really cool and encouraging to see so many youngsters who this time last year had never even sat in a boat racing around and just loving being out on the water having fun with other kids who have had exactly the same experience of OnBoard as them.”

RYA Onboard clubs run at Birmingham Outdoor Education Centre, Edgbaston Watersports and Sutton Sailing Club in Birmingham and Youth Afloat, Upton Warren Outdoor Education Centre and Aztec Watersports in Worcestershire and the six clubs are part of the network of around 180 RYA OnBoard clubs nationwide.

Supported by TEAMORIGIN, Britain’s Challenge for the America’s Cup, RYA OnBoard is working to introduce half a million children to sailing and windsurfing over 10 years.

If you are interested in getting your school, youth organisation or community group involved in RYA OnBoard contact Tom Davenport at [email protected] while more details about RYA OnBoard can be found at www.rya.org.uk/programmes/onboard
Karenza Morton

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 September 2010 )