Successful festival at Axbridge

SAILING - THIRTY-ONE youngsters had so much fun during a sailing festival for beginners that the organisers have been overwhelmed with participants asking: When can we do it again?

THIRTY-ONE youngsters had so much fun during a sailing festival for beginners that the organisers have been overwhelmed with participants asking: "When can we do it again?"

The event, at Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club (BCYC), Axbridge, was organised through RYA OnBoard, the scheme that introduces children of all backgrounds and abilities to sailing and windsurfing. It was aimed at sailors who are new to the sport and involved fun, competitive games and a grand sail past. The teams included youngsters aged between eight and 14, who have started sailing with OnBoard at four different clubs, BCYC, Clevedon Sailing Club, Bowmoor Sailing Club and the West of England Schools Sailing Association.

It was a sunny day with little wind during the morning, so lots of paddling was required in the first two games. There was slightly more wind for the two games in the afternoon, and it increased again for the grand sail past, so much so that a request came from the kids, via the safety boat crews, to stay out for an extra half hour as they were all having a great time.

Organisers happily agreed to this, said RYA OnBoard Development Officer Leon Ward: "It was a fantastic day and it was great to have children from four clubs at the event. Everybody was sailing, including some children who had only ever been in a boat once before. We had huge support from BCYC and from the parents and instructors who came with the other clubs."


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Official OnBoard supplier Laser Performance brought 10 Laser Bug dinghies for the children to use, and gave every youngster a Laser Bug t-shirt at the end of the day - on which to pin their OnBoard badges.

Run by sailing's National Governing Body, the RYA, OnBoard is a highly successful industry-supported grassroots programme which seeks to make sailing and windsurfing easier to get into for young people. Over a 10-year period the programme aims to introduce a minimum of 500,000 children to sailing in the UK, converting over 10 per cent of them into regular participants. So far it's nicely on track.

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For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit the RYA's website www.rya.org.uk or the OnBoard website www.ruob.co.uk

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