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Initial findings from the Royal Yachting Association’s annual Parent, Guardian and Carer Survey show that parents with children taking part in boating or sailing believe them to benefit from increased levels of confidence, team building and leadership skills thanks to their time on the water.

Each year the RYA asks parents of children taking part in boating or sailing to have their say on a range of topics in the RYA Parent, Guardian and Carer Survey. By completing the short survey, participants provided the RYA with valuable insight into how we can provide further help and support to both parents and children, ensuring safe and fun experiences for all.

The governing body for sailing and boating in the United Kingdom says it received over 270 completed surveys in the latest round, capturing informative data which will influence the RYA’s ongoing organisational delivery of the safeguarding agenda.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 85% of respondents were ‘Very Confident’ that their club or class association would know how to respond to safeguarding concerns.
  • 68% of respondents were aware of who their Welfare Officer was and how to contact them.
  • 61% of respondents felt that their child would know who to talk to besides themselves if they were worried.
  • 62.5% said that their child had never had any negative experiences in the sport.
  • 29% of respondents stated that they had witnessed parents, guardians or carers behaving in a way which in their opinion had had a negative impact on the child’s enjoyment of the sport.
  • When asked for three words to describe the benefits that the respondents felt children received from sailing and boating, the most frequently mentioned benefits included: confidence, team building, knowledge, leadership, well-being, community and new skills.

The RYA says it will be producing a full report on the data obtained, containing the actions that it will take to implement the findings into the safeguarding support on offer. Once finalised, the report will then be made available on request.

For more, visit the RYA Safeguarding hub. The local safeguarding lead for RYA Northern Ireland is Gayle Logan at [email protected].

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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The 2023 RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show on the weekend of 25-26 February is set to showcase a world of on-water possibilities as the first of its guest speakers were unveiled recently.

Expert advice and motivation are to be found in every corner of the Farnborough International Conference and Exhibition Centre, with a packed schedule of talks complementing the 140-plus exhibitors at the season-opening show.

The first ever father-daughter Olympic gold-medal winners, Mike and Eilidh McIntyre, will take to the stage to reflect on their Olympic successes and how Mike’s medal hanging outside a young Eilidh’s bedroom inspired her to reach for her own place in sailing history (Saturday 25 February only). She is now striving for further glory at Paris 2024, forging a new partnership in the mixed 470 class alongside Martin Wrigley.

Farnborough International welcomed over 7,000 attendees over the weekend of 26-27 February for the RYA Dinghy and Watersports Show 2022 | Credit: RYAFarnborough International welcomed over 7,000 attendees over the weekend of 26-27 February for the RYA Dinghy and Watersports Show 2022 | Credit: RYA

Take a peek into the world of dinghy adventuring through the epic feats of Ken Fowler — an “average bloke” in a very small dinghy who took on a very big challenge for two causes dear to his heart. Ken will tell his story of the mission to sail 2,000km in his RS Aero around 250 islands of England and Wales, raising thousands for Cancer Research UK and Oakhaven Hospice in the process.

There are new pursuits to be discovered at the show, and RYA instructor trainer and pathway coach James Hardy will be talking all things winging, windsurfing and windfoiling alongside Peter Hart and other special guests on the Watersports Stage. Whatever your level, James’s workshops can help you find and unlock a new skill.

Attendees will hear from the fast and furious America’s Cup and SailGP racing scenes as show host Hannah Diamond will be joined by Hattie Rogers to share their Great Britain SailGP team experiences and updates on the Athena Pathway Programme, looking ahead to a ground-breaking first ever Women’s America’s Cup in 2024.

INEOS Britannia’s Matt Gotrel (Saturday only) will update on the Challenger of Record’s progress towards the 37th America’s Cup and the coming SailGP season.

Whatever your means of getting afloat, experts will be on hand with all the advice and practical tips you need to help you improve.

SUP rider Holly Bassett will explore the world of paddleboarding | Credit: RYASUP rider Holly Bassett will explore the world of paddleboarding | Credit: RYA

Strength and conditioning expert and show regular Chris Szedlak’s interactive session will help shake off any winter cobwebs and provide fitness tips to get you — and keep you — ready and raring to go this season.

SUP rider Holly Bassett will explore the world of paddleboarding and provide top tips on how to ride the waves as well as share improver techniques for all levels.

Paralympic gold medallist and RYA National Class lead Coach Helena Lucas, along with guest coaches, will head up a session for youth and junior dinghy racers on preparing for the season ahead.

The full line-up of speakers for the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show will be revealed at the end of January and will include a host of returning show favourites covering dinghy cruising, top racing tips and getting the best out of your rig set up.

Tickets are available now via the RYA website and RYA members can access a complimentary ticket worth £21 for one or both days of the event, while kids under 15 years go free!

Published in RYA Northern Ireland

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has expressed its disappointment as the British Government’s rejection of its proposal to allow recreational boat owners, established in the UK and who lawfully purchased and kept their boat in the EU at the time the UK was an EU member, to be eligible for Returned Goods Relief (RGR).

The RYA, British Marine, Association of Brokers and Yacht Agents, and the Cruising Association were informed of the decision at a meeting with HMRC last Wednesday (14 December).

On 25 April 2019, the Government originally said: “The intended UK policy is that a UK vessel will not lose its status as VAT paid in the UK because it is outside UK territorial waters on EU Exit Day. When the vessel returns to the UK the person responsible for the vessel can claim Returned Goods Relief.”

On 03 November 2020, the Government reaffirmed: “If a vessel was re-imported during 2021, it would be sufficient to show that any sale or transfer or ownership had been made in compliance with [EU] VAT legislation.”

Despite two separate confirmations by the government in April 2019 and November 2020, the RYA says, it was not until 17 December 2020 that HMRC stated the prior advice was incorrect and that it would be unable to apply an easement for returning vessels after Brexit.

This gave boat owners just 14 days to re-base their boats to the UK to avoid a second VAT charge. Given the distance, winter weather conditions and above all COVID travel restrictions, this was not only unrealistic but for most it was simply impossible, the RYA says.

Mel Hide, RYA director of external affairs, said: “This proposal has been with the Government since January 2022 following the successful case we made for an easement of the three-year RGR condition. It is therefore a deeply disappointing outcome and falls well short of resolving the issue for those who have been caught out by incorrect advice provided by the Government.

“It would also seem to fall short of the Government commitment to assist UK industry as we forge our future outside of the EU. We must now consider what action we can collectively take to seek a better outcome.”

Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, commented: “This is obviously very disappointing news in light of the previous commitments from Government to support UK boat owners bringing their vessels back to the UK. We will continue to work with our strategic partners to challenge this decision and press for a change in policy.”

Published in Cruising

The 2022 edition of the RYA European Waterways Regulations is now available to purchase in print and eBook format.

New material has been updated to match CEVNI 6, the new version of the code governing navigation on some of the European inland waterways.

It covers subject areas such as basic rules, visual signs, buoyage, designated areas, sound signals and more. This is the ideal book for those wanting to pass the CEVNI test, a legal requirement for those cruising the European inland waterways.

Other new edition updates include:

  • Changes to the introduction to clarify how CEVNI applies to those using European inland waterways.
  • Updates to terminology, lights and signage to reflect CEVNI 6.
  • Regulation changes are now reflected in the text.

The CEVNI code was devised by the United Nations in 1985 and governs navigation on all interconnected European inland waterways. It was established to enable boaters of all nationalities to communicate, and to understand what is going on without the need to speak each other’s language.

By law, all those cruising on European inland waterways must have passed the CEVNI test and have a reference copy onboard.

The book is the work of knowledgeable author Tam Murrell, who has been cruising since the late 1950s, working with narrow boats and barges on UK inland waters to small coasters trading in and around the Thames estuary and into Northern Europe.

Since 1995, Tam and his wife have spent much of their time on continental waterways on their 24-metre Dutch barge.

As the RYA’s supporting material for the CEVNI test, RYA European Waterways Regulation is the ideal book for those wanting to cruise the inland waterways of Europe.

RYA European Waterways Regulations costs £10.49 and will be available to buy in the RYA web shop or through the RYA Books app. Alternatively, download the eBook via Apple Books or Google Play Books.

Published in Inland Waterways

Three Northern Ireland sailors have been awarded RYA Volunteer Awards and recognised by Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, president of the RYA.

The awards, which were held in London, recognise boating's outstanding volunteers and unsung heroes. The Northern Ireland winners were Aidan Pounder of Ballyholme Yacht Club and Thomas Hutcheson of East Antrim Boat Club, who each received a Lifetime Commitment Award, and Debbie Kirkpatrick also of East Antrim BC who received an Outstanding Contribution Award.

In total, 48 RYA Volunteer Awards from across the UK were presented at the annual ceremony. Celebrating both long-standing and younger volunteers, the awards recognise all those who have contributed to the sport and made an impact in their communities.

Aidan Pounder of Ballyholme Yacht Club receiving his award from Princess Anne | Credit: RYAAidan Pounder of Ballyholme Yacht Club receiving his award from Princess Anne | Credit: RYA

The prestigious awards are divided into five categories: RYA Community Awards, Francis Elkin Award, Family Award, Honor Preston Award, and RYA Awards.

Congratulating the winners, RYA Northern Ireland’s chief operating officer Greg Yarnall said: “We were delighted to see three of our very dedicated volunteers from Northern Ireland recognised for their contribution to our sport.

“It’s inspiring to see so many volunteers give up so much of their time to help others and to help develop our sport and we are very thankful for their hard work.”

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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The great and good of UK yachting descended on the Royal Thames Yacht Club on 28 November to celebrate the 2022 British Yachting Awards.

The guest speaker was Sara Sutcliffe, Chief Executive of the RYA, who spoke about a more inclusive approach to sailing governance with a focus on diversity and equality.

The awards, organised by Sailing Today with Yachts and Yachting  magazine, are an opportunity for the readership to vote and give their verdict on some of the incredible talents within the sailing world.

It was also a chance to celebrate the finest new yachts, best events, kit innovations, destinations and much more.

The champagne flowed as the winners were announced, confirming what a vintage year this has been for sailing.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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Entry is now open for the RYA Winter Match Racing Series 2023 which kicks off in RS21s at London’s Queen Mary Sailing Club in the New Year.

The #rockupandrace series will also give teams an opportunity to compete in 707s and Elliott 6Ms with each event offering windward-leeward match racing for up to eight or nine teams.

There will be a warm welcome at each event for both experienced young match racers and those who would like to give it a go, with coaching support available for participants.

Entries are invited for teams of four/five crew for Qualifier 1, for which there is an early bird discount available for teams who sign up before 11.59pm on Monday 19 December.

Full details can be found in the Notice of Race and registration for three of the four events in the series is now open HERE.

The format of racing for each event, conditions allowing, will include a round robin, semi-finals and finals. The full series will be as follows:

  • 14-15 January 2023: Winter Match Racing Q1, RS21s at Queen Mary Sailing Club
  • 4-5 February 2023: Women's Winter Match Racing, Elliott 6Ms at WPNSA
  • Date & venue TBC: Rory Cheetham Cup, incorporating WMR Q2
  • 18-19 March 2023: Winter Match Racing Q3, 707s at Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch

RYA director of racing Nick Scott said: “With a fleet of one-design keelboats ready to go at each event, RYA Match Racing provides an accessible platform for teams to take part in this exciting discipline, including young and aspiring keelboat sailors and youth sailors looking to try something new.

“As ever we have some fantastic venues lined up and we’re really looking forward to welcoming both experienced and new participants to the RYA Winter Match Racing Series.”

Also coming up this winter is the rescheduled 2022 RYA Marlow Ropes Women's Match Racing Championships, which will take place in Elliott 6Ms at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy, 11-12 February 2023, with entry available here.

Find out more about RYA Match Racing and all upcoming events at www.ryamatchracing.co.uk.

Published in Match Racing

Sixteen teams gathered in Hamble at the weekend for the RYA National Match Racing Championship Grand Finals following a summer season of qualifiers, youth and university championships.

Royal Southern Yacht Club were the hosts with racing taking place on the Solent, adding an interesting tidal dimension to the fun and frenetics of match racing in RS21s.

Racing was scheduled over three days (21-23 October) but was not possible on day one due to high winds, so competitors gathered before dawn on Saturday morning with a much better weekend forecast and plenty of racing to get through.

The 16 teams were split into two groups based on World Sailing match racing rankings and on Saturday each group completed a full round robin with the top four from each advancing through to the quarter finals.

Both groups were topped with 100% records, with Andy Cornah in group A and Ted Blowers in group B both finding early form.

The battle for the top four was tight with group A seeing a three way tie for fourth, which saw event top seed Alastair Gifford come out on top to join Cornah’s team, Ceilidh Cup winner Alex Colquitt and Matt Greenfield in the knockouts.

Group B saw strong performances from Ali Mo, Patrick Croghan and Ellie Cumpsty to see them advance alongside Blowers.

Sunday was knockouts day with event director Richard Moxey also scheduling continued racing for the teams that missed out. After a short delay for lightning strikes on the Solent, racing got under way with the quarter-final wins going to Cornah, Blowers, Greenfield and Colquitt.

In the semi-finals, Blowers saw off Colquitt 2-0 and the other semi saw three incredibly close fought races with penalties, place changes and committee boat raft ups aplenty — Cornah emerged victorious 2-1 to face Blowers in the final.

The tide was now ripping upwind making pre-start quite tricky to judge the time back to the line and the prospect of being over the line very costly.

Race 1 saw an even split tack start with Blowers taking a narrow lead round the top mark; Cornah and crew kept things close on the run and picked their moment to lead the gybe, managing to roll over the top and lead into the bottom mark from where they extended away to take the win.

Race 2 saw an almost identical pre-start with Cornah leading back in and splitting tacks off towards the committee boat in the last 10 seconds. This left Blowers too close to the line and unable to not be taken over by the tide, giving Cornah a good head start up the first beat.

Blowers and team chased hard the whole way round but ultimately the OCS proved too costly and Cornah — with his crew of Guy Brearey, Niall Myant-Best and Kate Macgregor (back on bow after winning as a helm in 2021) — holding on to take the title.

For Cornah this was his second title in three years. “We had a really fun weekend. Whilst it was a shame not to race on the first day, the event team and in particular PRO Tom Rusbridge did an amazing job of getting tons of high quality racing in for all teams,” he said.

“It was a pleasure to sail with my amazing crew this weekend, they did a great job getting us round the race track, which wasn’t easy especially when the tide was ripping!”

Matt Greenfield and team took third place defeating Colquitt in the petit final. Full results can be found HERE.

For more about RYA Match Racing and all upcoming events, Including the start of the Winter Match Racing Series in January 2023, see www.ryamatchracing.co.uk.

Published in Match Racing

As the national governing body for boating with over 107,000 members and nearly 1,500 affiliated organisations, such as clubs and recognised training centres, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) plays a challenging yet hugely rewarding role by advocating and providing a voice for them all.

The RYA is currently emerging from what it describes as an “exciting” developmental stage and will launch a new long-term strategic plan by the end of 2022, setting the future tone and ambition for the organisation.

As it embarks on this next chapter and heads towards its 150th anniversary in 2025, the RYA is seeking to appoint its next chair to manage and provide critical leadership to the board.

Collaborating closely with the chief executive, Sara Sutcliffe MBE, the chair will oversee the delivery of our next strategy, uphold high standards of business operations and empower a skilled, diverse and committed workforce.

The chair of the RYA is a high-profile position within both the boating and the sporting world. The successful individual will be an ambitious, collaborative and strategic leader with a proven track record of working within a multifaceted organisation and varied stakeholder environment.

Demonstrating personal gravitas, they will be an engaging and compelling ambassador to lead a significant national organisation and to advocate on behalf of our members and affiliates.

The appointed candidate will possess tact, diplomacy and exceptional communication and persuasive abilities. A thorough understanding of good governance and sound judgement will be critical, as will excellent financial and business acumen.

While a sailing background is beneficial, an interest in boating in all its forms as well as a willingness to be visible and integrate within the community will be essential.

The role is voluntary with reasonable expenses paid. The chair will serve a three-year term from November 2023-2026 and may then be extended for a further three-year term.

Chris Preston, a passionate sailor with more than 50 years' experience of racing and cruising, will remain in post as RYA chair until November 2023 to enable a smooth transition.

Meetings take place predominantly in Southampton, London or virtually although some travel to other parts of the country is expected.

The RYA says it looks forward to hearing from those who share its vision and who have the ambition, capacity and expertise to enable it to deliver a bright future to its members and other stakeholders.

For further details, including the job description, person specification, and next steps on how to apply, visit candidates.perrettlaver.com/vacancies quoting reference number 6002. The closing date for applications is 9am BST on Monday 17 October.

The RYA will be supported in this appointment by executive search firm Perrett Laver.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
Tagged under

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has issued a statement mourning the loss of its patron, Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday (8 September), sharing that it is “deeply saddened” by her passing:

Our thoughts and condolences are with The Princess Royal, RYA President, and the entire Royal Family.

Known for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service, Her Majesty The Queen has been an important figurehead for the UK and the Commonwealth. She has ruled for longer than any other monarch in British history, becoming a much loved and respected figure across the globe.

In 1948, Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh were listed as new members of the RYA (known then as the Yacht Racing Association). It became the Royal Yachting Association in 1952 when Sir Ralph Gore, then president, spoke of “Her Majesty’s recent command that the name of the Association will in future be the Royal Yachting Association”. He had written to the Home Secretary at the time, asking him kindly to convey to Her Majesty “our great appreciation of this command”.

The Royal Family has a long history of seafaring. Over the centuries the monarchy has sailed aboard 83 royal yachts, including the most recent, HMY Britannia, which often hosted the RYA Council meetings during Cowes Week.

In addition to her diplomatic duties on royal tours, HMY Britannia was also a vessel for family holidays. During the summer months, the Royal Family would often take off on what became known as the aptly named Western Isles tour, cruising around Scotland. The tour often included a stop off at the Castle of Mey to visit The Queen Mother before berthing in Aberdeen so that Her Majesty The Queen could travel to her favourite summer home, Balmoral.

With so many fond memories around the yacht, Her Majesty The Queen officially took her leave of it in 1997 and the vessel was placed in the port of Leith in Scotland, where it serves as a floating museum and events venue. All of the clocks on board remain stopped at 3:01, the exact time that Her Majesty disembarked for the last time.

In 1948, Bluebottle was presented to Her Majesty The Queen (then HRH Princess Elizabeth) and HRH Prince Philip as a wedding present from the Island Sailing Club of Cowes, Isle of Wight. Bluebottle is the only British Dragon to have won an Olympic medal, picking up a bronze at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games.

Chris Preston, chair of the Royal Yachting Association, today said: “Like so many around the world, we are deeply saddened at the loss of Her Majesty The Queen. Her patronages and charities have covered a wide range of issues, from opportunities for young people, to the preservation of wildlife and the environment. It was an honour for the RYA to host Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh on a trip to Cowes in 2012, where they were introduced to a number of young OnBoard sailors who were enjoying the opportunity to try sailing and windsurfing.

“Having Her Majesty as Royal Patron, alongside the support of her husband HRH The Duke of Edinburgh as former RYA President and her daughter The Princess Royal as our current President, has undoubtedly helped us to raise awareness of our aims to increase participation in boating, to promote safety afloat and to raise sailing standards. Her Majesty will be sorely missed and we offer our deepest condolences to our president, The Princess Royal, and her family.”

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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