Felpham Sailing Club are leading the way in introducing youngsters to sailing and windsurfing in West Sussex after being awarded OnBoard status by the sport’s national governing body, the RYA.
OnBoard is the RYA’s nationwide grass-roots scheme to provide youngsters aged eight to 18 from schools, community and youth groups with opportunities to sail regularly at low-cost and continue participating at designated OnBoard clubs in their area.
Felpham have been working with RYA officials in West Sussex to gain OnBoard status, bidding to engage youngsters in the sport and the club from an early age while giving their families the chance to take an active role in the club.
Having received the seal of approval, Felpham will give OnBoard cadets the opportunity to get involved in their successful Friday night ‘fun Sailing’ sessions, which are a great way to make new friends and increase confidence on the water.
Felpham SC vice-commodore John Breach said becoming an RYA OnBoard centre of excellence was having a positive impact.
“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,” he said.
“We saw how other clubs in the area were benefiting from OnBoard and how it helped to improve links with the local community.
“We already hold a successful cadet night which has been growing over the past couple of years and I’m looking forward to feeding OnBoard members into the cadet nights as well as getting as many local kids as possible out on the water through OnBoard.
“Being a recognised OnBoard centre will help us to develop grass-roots sports in the area and will also strengthen our Volvo Champion Club application.”
Mark Saul, RYA OnBoard development officer for West Sussex, said: “Felpham have done a fantastic job developing their youth sailing. It was great to visit their cadet night to witness the good work of John Breach and see how much fun the kids were having.
“I look forward to working with John and his team to develop new links with local schools and youth groups to grow and sustain the high level of sailing at Felpham SC.”
Felpham are running a number of RYA courses in May, June and July, encouraging OnBoard cadets to gain their level-two qualification, as well as a number of sailing clinics.
Over ten years OnBoard aims to introduce a minimum of 500,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK.