RYA Awards announced at Dinghy Show

Colin Ridley, (52) from Ferndown in Dorset scooped the title of RYA Shorebased Instructor of the Year last month and today (Saturday 1 March) made it a double when he was announced overall RYA Instructor of the Year at the world’s biggest dinghy show, the RYA Dinghy Sailing Show, Alexandra Palace.

Colin beat ten of the UK’s top RYA Coaches and Instructors, each recognised for being at the height of their teaching disciplines in 2007, to win the ultimate award. Spanning from powerboating to dinghy sailing and windsurfing to yachting, these awards cover all aspects of boating and recognise the skill, enthusiasm and commitment that goes in to coaching and instructing from grass roots to Olympic level.

Colin, was nominated for the award by Poole Adult Learning, one of the many centres, including his own, that he instructs at. Qualified in many aspects of RYA coaching, Colin started teaching RYA Dinghy courses in his spare time in 1991, before going full-time as a freelance instructor in 2002.

Colin said of his win: “I was absolutely delighted to have won the Shorebased award but to get this is the crowning glory really, it’s excellent. I’ve got to live up to the reputation now!”

Poole Adult Learning said: “Colin has a really proactive and pioneering teaching style which has proved outstandingly successful. He has also established training partnerships with local schools to directly encourage young people to participate in courses.”

Winners of the ten Instructor and Coach awards categories were;

Dinghy Instructor of the Year – Andrew Knight
Senior Instructor of the Year – Margaret Norris
Powerboat Instructor of the Year – Alan Hoile
Under 21 Coach of the Year – Matt Day
Club and Class Coach of the Year – Nick Sawyer
Squad Coach of the Year – Neil Marsden
Windsurfing Instructor of the Year – Trish Melton
Team15 Coach of the Year – Andy Kerr
Yachtmaster Instructor of the Year – Nick Molton
Shorebased Instructor of the Year – Colin Ridley

Gurnard Sailing Club on the Isle of Wight was unveiled as the RYA’s first ever Club of the Year today (Saturday 1 March) at the world’s biggest dinghy show, the RYA Dinghy Sailing Show, Alexandra Palace.

Club Commodore Caroline Stevens comments “ We knew the other club finalists were very strong competition so everyone is delighted and very surprised to have won. Our club is run on an entirely voluntary basis so the award is for all of the hard work they put into the club. “

Gurnard was one of five finalists for the award alongside, Weir Wood Sailing Club, South Staffordshire Sailing Club, Swanage Sailing Club and Rutland Sailing Club.

Rod Carr, Chief Executive of the RYA comments; “This is the first year we have run the Club of the Year Awards and we have been delighted with the response. All five of our finalists fulfilled the criteria in different ways proving what great diversity there is amongst our affiliated clubs. The decision to choose one overall winner was extremely difficult, however after careful consideration Gurnard, was selected. ”

The awards criteria identified clubs that were forward looking and vibrant, and promoted and encouraged people on to the water through a range of activities for all ages and abilities, from one off events to dedicated racing programmes.

Gurnard Sailing Club had a fantastic diary of events ranging from Sunday morning racing to Swallows and Amazons weekends. Forty per cent of the club’s membership is cadets giving it a really vibrant feel. Since the opening of the new clubhouse ten years ago no application for membership has been refused and with fantastic facilities for less able bodied people, the club has several active members with disabilities.

The club also has a Development Fund supported financially by the club and local businesses. This provides grants for cadets wishing to compete nationally or internationally and also links with four local primary schools and local charity, The Island Youth Water Activity Centre in Cowes, to offer sailing to all year four pupils.

Skandia Team GBR’s Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes presented Gurnard SC with the brand new Club of the Year trophy kindly donated by Sailing Awards in Bournemouth. The four club finalists were also presented with a pennant and plaque.