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It’s a new year and ‘all change’ at the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) as the team today (Monday 10 January) welcomes Sara Sutcliffe MBE as the organisation’s new chief executive.

Sutcliffe takes over from interim chief executive David Strain, who assumed the role after the departure of Sarah Treseder for the UK Chamber of Shipping, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Sutcliffe spent her formative years working in the City of London at leading global law firm Baker & McKenzie. With a keen interest in sport, she later took the opportunity to join the British Olympic Association (BOA) developing her legal and management skills and attended four Olympic Games as General Counsel to Team GB.

She was also instrumental in the London 2012 bid, working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and the Mayor of London to secure the hosting of the Games.

Following the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Sutcliffe joined Table Tennis England as CEO where she has overseen considerable sustained improvements in governance, performance and participation of the sport as well as leading the bid to host the 2018 ITTF Team World Cup in London.

In addition, Sutcliffe and her family are all keen boaters and enjoy family sailing holidays, and her children are currently on the RYA learning pathway.

Sutcliffe joins the RYA at a time when it is seeking to protect boating from the wide-ranging impacts of the global pandemic, while also accelerating its work on diversity and inclusion, sustainability and digital transformation.

Commenting on her arrival at the RYA, Sutcliffe said: “It is an honour to play my part in the distinguished history of the RYA, to lead it on the next chapter in its journey, and I am grateful to the board, senior management team, committees, volunteers and the whole RYA team for the warm welcome I’ve received. I’m very much looking forward to getting out and about and meeting everyone in person as soon as possible.

“It’s important that we make boating relevant and attractive to all generations, while we also help boating recover from the many impacts of the pandemic and adapt to new normal. The importance of sport in the community has never been more significant and we must embrace the ability for boating to act as a catalyst in education and character development in young people as well as providing opportunities and positive experiences for everyone.”

Chris Preston, RYA chair, commented: “With over 20 years’ experience in the sports sector, Sara brings with her a wealth of knowledge, expertise and passion that will be a true asset to the RYA.

“I would like to express our thanks to Dave Strain on behalf of the board, the staff and from me personally for his work, dedication and commitment to the RYA during his tenure as interim chief executive. We are delighted that Dave will now resume his role within the association as finance director and company secretary.”

Published in News Update
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The UK’s Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has launched a new framework of support for yacht racers and owners following a change in World Sailing’s Offshore Special Regulations (OSR).

Since 1 January this year, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, yachts competing in OSR category 0 to 3 races must have been inspected by a qualified person within 24 months of the start of the race or after a grounding, whichever is later.

Following numerous enquiries from members and clubs about how best to comply with the new rules, the RYA has launched a dedicated page on its website to allow owners to demonstrate to organising authorities that they are compliant in a manner which is simple and cost-effective to owners, and which can be readily understood by organising authorities.

Although the term ‘qualified person’ has not been defined within the OSR, the RYA says it has worked with its team of coding surveyors to provide access to a professional network who can conduct the inspections to a scope set by the RYA, based on the OSR requirements, at a reasonable cost to owners in the UK.

The new requirements have been brought into place in order to draw owners’ attention to the critical safety aspects of keels following a number of high-profile incidents. Keels have been breaking off yachts for many years, with sometime catastrophic consequences.

The yacht types losing keels and rudders range from cruising to high performance racing yachts and from newly built to old.

This regulation is designed to require a visual inspection every two years. It is designed to capture visual signs (cracks, movement, corrosion, loose keel bolts, loose or irregular rudder bearings) that may indicate a potentially serious problem. It is expected that once noted, the owner would undertake a more detailed investigation or get it repaired.

Subject to satisfactory inspection, the RYA will produce a simple ‘Statement of Compliance’ which can be used by owners to demonstrate to organising authorities that they have complied with the new OSR requirements.

For more information or to find our approved inspectors, see the RYA website or contact [email protected]

Published in Offshore
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Following reports earlier this month of the UK Government’s intention to waive the three-year condition for Returned Goods Relief, it’s now been confirmed that from 1 January 2022 new legislation will give certainty to UK-based recreational boat owners post-Brexit.

Boat owners returning their vessels to the UK can claim relief from import VAT under Returned Goods Relief (RGR) if they meet all the conditions for the relief. One of these conditions is that the goods or effects must normally be re-imported into the UK within three years of the original date of export.

The changes are in response to concerns set out by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) over the past two years, ensuring that legislation and UK Government guidance is aligned with previous practical application of RGR rules by making it clear that:

  • the normal three-year time limit will be waived for personal effects which are being returned to the UK for the personal use of a UK resident person, without needing to prove that the effects could not be returned within the normal time limit due to exceptional circumstances; and
  • that a boat is treated as ‘personal effects’ for the purposes of this waiver.

Katherine Green and Sophie Dean, HMRC Directors General, Borders and Trade, commented: “We are pleased to be able to provide assurance to the sector that there will be no requirement to pay a second amount of UK VAT if vessels have been outside the UK for more than three years.”

Mel Hide, RYA’s director of external affairs, said the confirmation “is outstanding news for UK recreational boater owners and we welcome it as a pragmatic outcome in response to the considerable amount of time and effort that the RYA has put in to secure this result”.

Guidance on Returned Goods Relief will be updated from January once the legislation has been introduced, the RYA adds.

Published in Cruising

The RYA is calling on clubs to help make 2021 one of the biggest and best years for Portsmouth Yardstick handicap data to ensure numbers are as accurate as possible for 2022.

The Portsmouth Yardstick handicap system is run jointly by the RYA and its affiliated clubs to allow sailors to race different boats against each other fairly.

At the end of each year, clubs submit their results data to the RYA which collates and analyses it then adjusts PY numbers accordingly. The more data received, the more accurate the PY numbers will be.

Due to a lack of racing in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions, PY numbers stayed the same for 2021 – but it’s hoped that an influx of submissions this year will allow for the numbers to be updated.

This year’s deadline for PY submissions is December 20.

Adam Parry, technical manager at the RYA, said: “As we approach the 70th anniversary of the Portsmouth Yardstick scheme it would be great if this year was one of our largest returns showing how strong our clubs and classes are after a turbulent 2020.

“Understandably there was far less racing in 2020 which lead us to our decision to freeze the PY numbers for a year but we are hoping that this year we can have enough data to help update numbers and help clubs create fairer racing for their members”.

Club handicap and results officers can submit their data online here

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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Blustery conditions made for challenging racing for the seven teams competing in the Ceilidh Cup / Scottish Student Sailing (SSS) Match Racing event, hosted at the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club in Rhu, Scotland, on Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th October.

The Ceilidh Cup, a fixture for many years for the club's fleet of Sonar keelboats, resumed this weekend after a Covid-induced hiatus in 2020. Moreover, it is the first competitive event in the Scottish Student Sailing calendar since February 2020.

With similar conditions on both days - a 10-15 knot westerly supplemented by 20-knot squalls as rain showers came through - Principal Race Officer John Readman made an early decision to deploy Flag Romeo, preventing competitors from using spinnakers due the blustery conditions.

However, racing proceeded at a rapid rate, under the watchful eye of Chief Umpire Craig Evans and his team, and on day one a full round-robin of the seven teams had been completed by half-past four, with competitors returning to the RNCYC clubhouse for curry.

The top-ranked teams after the round-robin were Thomas Goodman (University of Strathclyde, 5.5 points); Hector McKerney (St Andrews University, 5 points), and Ali Morrish (RNCYC, 4 points).

On Sunday, the format was a repechage, followed by the semi-finals and finals. The repechage, which formed a mini-round robin of teams ranked 4th-7th, resulted in a 3-way tie, which required significant application of the rulebook to resolve, by reference to the results of the previous round-robin. This allowed Craig Macdonald (RNCYC) to progress to the semi-finals. Fortunately, there was just time for the semis and finals before the time limit expired.

The final results after 36 races were:

  1. Ali Morrish (RNCYC)
  2. Thomas Goodman (University of Strathclyde)
  3.  Hector McKerney (University of St Andrews)
  4. Craig Macdonald (RNCYC)
  5. Jesse Jackson (University of Strathclyde)
  6. Mhari Orr (University of Edinburgh)
  7. Matt Brett (University of Edinburgh)

Therefore, Ali Morrish of RNCYC, with her crew of Brendan Lynch, Iona Smith and James Logan, pictured below, won the Ceilidh Cup, while Thomas Goodman and his crew of Laura Young, Iain Duncan and Louis Hockings-Cooke from the University of Strathclyde were awarded the SSS Prize.

Ali Morrish's winning team, Photo: RNCYCAli Morrish's winning team Photo: RNCYC

Ali Morrish said: “We had a really fun weekend and are very pleased to come away with the Cup. In Saturday's round robin I was a bit off the pace upwind and we lost a few races, but we found our groove for the knockouts on Sunday. The closest/most fun match was the last race of the final against Tom which was a nice way to finish.”

Thomas Goodman, winner of the SSS Prize for best student team, added: "Fantastic to finally get back match racing this season and with Scottish students and alumni well represented at the event. I would like to thank my team for all their efforts this weekend: Iain and Louis worked the boats really hard and Laura, who'd never been a keelboat prior to Friday, did an exceptional shift in the middle of the boat. Congratulations to Ali and her crew who despite our best efforts slipped away in the super-exciting finals!"

Event Director, Craig Macdonald, said: "I'm exceptionally pleased with this weekend's match racing. It's been really exciting to be match racing again in Scotland, and we're keen to build this event back for next year, introducing new generations of students to the tactical challenges of match racing, and the necessary crew-work to make a competitive team."

The Ceilidh Cup/SSS Match Racing will return next year.

The event is part of the RYA National Match Racing Series, which concludes later this month with the invitational National Match Racing Championship Grand Finals at London’s Queen Mary SC in RS21s, 29-31 October 2021.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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It was a home win for Olympian Kate Macgregor and her team at the RYA Summer Match Racing Qualifier 3 over a breeze-on weekend at Poole Yacht Club.

Organisers had thought the event might be in jeopardy due to the high wind forecast for 2-3 October 2021 which saw a number of regattas canned along the south coast.

But in anticipation of a couple of weather-windows, a decision was made to go ahead and the sell-out event saw 10 teams match racing RS21 sportsboats and revelling in the conditions.

Day one saw four flights being run, with spinnakers making a brief appearance before the breeze rapidly built and forced a return to shore just as a 42 knot gust was recorded.

Poole YC’s Kate Macgregor and her team of Nicky Walsh, Bethan Carden, Saskia Tidey and Sophie Pearson, won all three of their races and then continued their winning ways on day two.

Breeze and sunshine kicked off the Sunday with more great match racing and busy pre-starts. The wind then started to build, with exciting conditions and smiley sailors loving the downwind blasts with spinnakers mostly up, occasionally away, and boat handling at a premium.

Despite a few big broaches, teams managed the conditions well for some tight racing throughout the fleet, resulting in a tie for second place and a tie for fifth overall as well.

With Macgregor’s team continuing undefeated – winning all of their matches for an emphatic victory – Ali Morrish sailing with Emily Robertson, Richard Moxey and Sarah Jarman took second overall, as in 2020, to add to her second place at this year’s Marlow Ropes Women’s Match Racing Championships.

George Haynes with Lily Reece, Josh Dawson and Huw Edwards took third place in a very tight battle with Ted Blowers’ team of Tom Hough, Bobby Hewitt, Anna Watkins, who in their deciding match had been in the lead but took a penalty early on downwind, enabling Haynes to get past for the win.

Macgregor - helming for this event rather than on bow as for her Olympic match racing and Women’s World Match Racing Champion title - said: “Driving was a little bit different but I had a really good crew with Sophie, Sas, Nicky and Bethan. They did a really good job so it took a lot of distractions away meaning I could focus more on the steering, so it was a little bit different but it was good fun, I enjoyed it.”

Kate has coached many of the sailors she was competing against and found it rewarding to see their progression in action, explaining: “The racing was actually a lot closer than I thought it was going to be, there were a few pre-starts where I did feel a bit nervous! But it was really cool to see how far everyone has come and that all their training that they’ve been doing has been worthwhile.”

Commenting on the secret to her own team’s success over the weekend, she added: “I think we just didn’t over complicate it. We made sure we got off the start cleanly and on time and when we didn’t we definitely paid for it. There was one race in particular where we were late and also had a penalty and luckily we managed to pull back but I think it was just keeping it simple, and in my team there’s a few other experienced match racers so it was useful having them on board as well.”

Another stand-out performance of the weekend came from Lymington’s Nik Froud and his team - Sam De La Feuillade, Connie Stock, Hannah Froud and Robby Boyd - who won an impressive four of their nine matches at Nik’s first ever match racing event and claimed fifth overall.

Nik, who sails a Moth and is also a team racer, said: “I wanted to come to match racing because a lot of my friends do it and they have a really good time, so I wanted to get involved. I absolutely loved it. I was a bit worried the forecast was for it to be really windy and I didn’t think there’d be much match racing going on - like in team racing if it’s 30 knots it’s just a fleet race - but we were match racing all the time and learning about the rules as well, and all the different boat-on-boat scenarios that I just haven’t encountered before, so for me, comparing the second-to-last race we did with the first, we learnt loads and I really enjoyed it.”

Asked whether he’d recommend match racing, Nik says he ‘100 per cent’ will be back for more and has this advice for anyone who thinks they might like to try match racing: “Just come and do it, if you can fleet race competitively, read up on the rules beforehand, watch a few videos, make sure you’re aware of the differences but just come and give it a go because it’s great fun!”

Next up is the RYA Summer Match Racing 4 Qualifier for the Ceilidh Cup in Sonars at Royal Northern & Clyde YC, Helensburgh, this weekend (9-10 October 2021). The series then concludes with the invitational National Match Racing Championship Grand Finals at Queen Mary SC in RS21s, 29-31 October 2021.

Published in Match Racing

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has announced that its chief executive Sarah Treseder will be leaving her role to become the next CEO at the UK Chamber of Shipping, replacing Bob Sanguinetti.

Commenting on her appointment, Treseder said: “I have treasured my time at the RYA and am proud of what the association has achieved whilst I have been at its helm.

“The team support I have received over the past decade has been outstanding, which has made the decision to leave incredibly tough, but I know I leave the RYA in a very strong position and that it will go from strength to strength in the years ahead.

"COVID-19 has focused attention on the vital role shipping and seafarers play in transporting the goods we all need and take for granted.

“The shipping sector faces a number of safety, security and environmental challenges and it is at a crucial stage in its decarbonisation journey; I know that will be one of the top priorities for me and the team at the Chamber.

“I look forward to working with the UK Government and world leading organisations as we look to reduce emissions whilst continuing to promote global trade."

On behalf of its board, staff and volunteers, RYA chair Chris Preston paid tribute to Treseder for her “exceptional contribution” to the association.

“Sarah has transformed the RYA in terms of strategic thinking, partnership networking and ambition during her 11-year tenure,” he said. “There is not an aspect of the association’s business both internally and externally that she has not influenced or changed for the better; consequently, she leaves a strong and lasting legacy.

"The board would particularly like to thank Sarah for her commitment and contribution during the COVID crisis and the challenges posed by Brexit – the association’s response to both has been exemplary.

“We are very grateful for Sarah’s commitment, energy and great passion for recreational and competitive boating, and we wish her all the very best for the future.”

UK Chamber of Shipping president John Denholm added: "I am absolutely thrilled we have secured someone of Sarah’s calibre to lead the UK Chamber of Shipping. Sarah has had a stellar career spanning roles in sporting and other sectors and I know she will provide strong leadership for the chamber. I look forward to working closely with her in the months and years ahead.”

Treseder will continue in her role as RYA chief executive until the end of August, while the recruitment process takes place, allowing her successor to participate in the formulation of the next four-year RYA strategy which will be launched in 2021/22.

Published in News Update
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The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and British Marine have welcomed HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) announcement of a six-month extension to the one-year grace period for Returned Goods Relief (RGR) previously put in place by the British Government.

The news yesterday (Thursday 25 March) extends the grace period for RGR until 30 June 2022 for all goods including recreational craft, regardless of when they left the UK, and follows representations from the RYA and British Marine asking for a three-year transition period.

Both organisations have argued that the one-year grace period effective from the end of the Brexit transition period, in respect of the three-year condition for RGR, was not sufficient — highlighting such issues as pandemic travel restrictions, Schengen Area immigration rules, insurance and the length of the sailing season.

This issue was central to a letter that the RYA and British Marine sent to the chief executive of HMRC in February, calling for a holistic approach to addressing the post-Brexit issues impacting on recreational boat owners and the British leisure marine industry.

Howard Pridding, the RYA’s director of external affairs, said: “The HMRC announcement is timely, as we have seen additional concerns from members about the new restrictions on leaving the UK announced this week.

"We will continue our constructive dialogue with HMRC on all outstanding post-Brexit issues, including the repatriation of boats that have not been in the UK under their current ownership, and look forward to receiving a full response from the HMRC chief executive on the points that we have raised.”

Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, added: “This collaborative work with the RYA shows that together we can better influence matters affecting the leisure marine sector and boaters.

“Whilst we requested and set out a strong case for a three-year RGR transition period, the six-month extension is welcomed.

“However, given the current restrictions on international travel, we hope HMRC will demonstrate flexibility to the extension to allow all UK boat owners to return their boats in a safe weather window. This flexibility would also be welcomed by UK boat retailers and brokers in order to keep fulfilling the rising demand for second-hand boats in the UK.”

Published in Cruising

Following the release of the UK - EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement British Marine and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) have been working to understand the impact of various aspects of the agreement on both the marine industry and recreational boat owners.

British Marine and the RYA have now received further information from both the EU Commission and the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on the trade of pre-owned CE marked recreational craft between the UK and EU following the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Both the UK and EU have confirmed that any vessel being traded second-hand between the UK and EU will be required to meet the obligations set out in either the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) in the EU or the Recreational Craft Regulations (RCR) in the UK when placed on either market after the 1 January 2021.

UK Conformity Assessed

Therefore, this means that a pre-owned vessel being imported from the EU to be placed on the UK market will, after 1 January 2022, be required to obtain a new UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark in line with the requirements of the RCR. In order to obtain a UKCA mark, a boat will require a Post Construction Assessment and third-party verification.

Pre-owned CE marked vessels

Similar rules will apply when selling vessels into the EU. Pre-owned CE marked vessels that were in the UK at the time of departure, 11pm on the 31 December 2020, when exported to the EU will be required to undergo recertification of the CE mark when being placed on the EU market. This means a boat will require a Post Construction Assessment in line with the RCD and third-party verification.

As Afloat reported previously, boat brokerages, distributors, boat owners and buyers may well be heavily affected by this post-Brexit position, as the responsibility will fall upon them to ensure a vessel meets the applicable requirements before buying and selling second-hand boats between the UK and EU. Estimated costs of Post Construction Assessments and verification are between 500-5000 GBP dependent on the vessel.

British Marine and the RYA are currently liaising with the European Boating Industry association in order to raise concerns with this position in Europe whilst also directly engaging with BEIS in the UK.

Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, commented; “As a consequence of Brexit, this is a complex and potentially difficult situation. Faced with the process of individual boat re-certification, boat builders, brokers and consumers will be impacted in terms of both time and cost when selling and buying second-hand boats cross borders. At this stage in time, British Marine is working hard to represent affected members and seek clarification of the exact ramifications of these regulations.”

Howard Pridding, RYA Director of External Affairs, said; “This is yet another unanticipated and unwelcome aspect of Brexit which could affect many owners financially through no fault of their own. We are working in partnership with industry to better understand and mitigate the situation and potential cost burden.”

Published in Marine Trade
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British Marine and the RYA have written a joint letter to the head of Britain’s HM Revenue & Customs to call for a holistic approach to the various issues facing private pleasure boaters, the second-hand market and the wider industry post-Brexit.

According to Marine Industry News, the letter covers such issues as the ‘VAT trap’ for British boaters, repatriation of vessels as pandemic restrictions continue, and the status of and reporting requirements for boats lying in Northern Ireland waters.

The two organisations are specifically calling for an extension of the one-year grace period for Returned Goods Relief to three years, on account of the various difficulties boaters currently face in regard to moving their vessels around Europe.

Howard Pridding of the RYA said: “Following months of dialogue with officials and exchanges with ministers at HMRC, we are now appealing directly to the chief executive of HMRC to bring coordination to urgently address the outstanding issues and deliver clear and unambiguous guidance that we can share with our members.”

The move comes in the same week that the Cruising Association launched its campaign for a 180-day cruising visa separate from the 90-day Schengen visa system, which would help preserve British cruisers’ traditional routes to the Netherlands, Greece, Spain and Portugal.

Published in Cruising
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