At the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta 2011, it turned out to be a day out with a difference for the twenty-six youngsters who received a special trip to Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy to meet the elite of the sailing world.
These children who are learning to sail and windsurf, soaked up the atmosphere they took to the water in RIBS to cheer the world’s best sailors as they competed in the medal races. They also had chance to meet their heroes when they came off the water and enjoyed cheering on the British Sailing Team at the presentation ceremony.
The event was organised as part of the RYA’s grassroots scheme OnBoard, which introduces sailing and windsurfing to youngsters across the country. 'It was exciting to be in a RIB and watch the medal races at the Sail for Gold Regatta. We saw the best sailors in the world' said Ryan and Tyler 12 year old twins from Portland who have both been learning to sail for the past four years.
One of the lucky youngsters commented: 'Ben Ainslie gave us his autograph and then we saw him at the presentation ceremony. It was a great day and we love sailing!’’
'It was an absolutely fantastic day out' agreed Tony Wood, RYA Regional Development Officer in the South West who organised the trip. 'It was great to see the youngsters watching the world’s best sailors in action at the 2012 sailing venue.
All the OnBoard sailors really enjoyed the day and I am sure it has inspired them to go out and practice their sailing.' Other activities included making their own model boats in the Holt Blow Boat challenge and collecting the country codes from all the competitors sails. Thank you to Harken who provided the youngsters with a goody bag.
Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged eight to eighteen, through schools, youth groups and training centres.
Over a ten year period OnBoard aims to introduce a minimum of 500,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK, converting over 10% of them into regular participants. So far it’s nicely on track. RYA website
or the OnBoard website