Himley Hall Sailing Club is hoping to find Britain’s next Olympic sailing superstar after signing up to OnBoard, the flagship kids’ grassroots scheme run by sailing’s national governing body, the RYA.
As the nation celebrates a year since London 2012, including Sir Ben Ainslie’s history-making fourth Olympic sailing gold medal, Himley Hall SC is laying down the foundations for local youngsters to follow in Ben’s footsteps through the RYA’s hugely-successful nationwide OnBoard initiative.
RYA OnBoard provides low cost sailing and windsurfing opportunities for local school and youth groups, enabling kids aged eight to 18 to learn to sail.
If the youngsters enjoy the sport, and want to start taking it more seriously, RYA OnBoard clubs have pathways in place to enable them to develop their skills further and, if they wish, start racing.
Over the past year, Himley Hall SC has formed a partnership with Ellowes Hall Sports College, Dudley, with students enjoying Stage 1 and 2 RYA Learn to Sail courses run by the club as part of their after-school activities offering.
A number of Ellowes Hall students have already joined the sailing club off the back of these courses and so popular have these sessions proved that mums and dads are also getting involved and learning to sail too!
Andy Degge, Himley Hall SC OnBoard Co-ordinator, explains: “We are delighted to be joining the RYA OnBoard network. We want to make sailing as fun and accessible for any and every young person, regardless of age, gender and background and OnBoard provides us with another fantastic opportunity to do that.
“RYA OnBoard is a recognised standard of quality so children, and their parents, know they will be receiving the best tuition in a safe, friendly club environment.
“You would be very surprised how many of the parents secretly want to have a go when they bring their kids so we make it happen. We aim to get as many parents sailing as possible and have seen an increase in families sailing at the club this year.
“None of this could be done without the help of our RYA qualified volunteer instructors and helpers who give up their time to come to help for no other reason than they enjoy seeing so many newcomers to the sport.”