The RYA’s club conferences are looking at ways of attracting younger sailors. While sailors aged 55+ are maintaining an interest in the sport, the numbers of younger sailors are between 44% and 64% down in the last 15 years (see below).
So perhaps with this in mind numbers were up at the regional series of the Royal Yachting Association’s Affiliated Clubs Conferences across the country at the end of last year. With a 48% increase in delegates and a 20% growth in the number of clubs represented since 2016, the conferences were the most popular yet.
The conferences, are free to attend and held annually in five regions across the UK. They feature keynote speakers and workshops run by the RYA and partners.
Tailored to suit the strengths and opportunities of each region, every year the conferences are a good setting for clubs to network, and share knowledge and examples of best practice.
The theme for the 2018 conferences was ‘learning from others’. With numbers of sailors, especially young sailors, falling, clubs are being encouraged to share any activities they have such as pay-on-demand boating – where effectively the Club owns the boats and members can sail them without the hassle of ownership, or diversification – like the idea of re-introducing rowing (competitive or otherwise) which are finding some traction.
Findings from British Marine’s Futures Project and the RYA in its dinghy-centred ‘Future of Sailing’ webinars were a core theme across all of the regions.
The conferences allow delegates to select workshops such as reaching new members with Facebook to RYA training recognition for your club, GDPR and other legal updates.
The conferences are becoming popular and feedback has been excellent with delegates from the London and South East conference commenting: “I came away with plenty of new ideas for improving our club and feeling really charged and energised.”
The response from the Midlands conference was also extremely positive: “I learnt a lot and really enjoyed it. It was helpful to get some reassurance of our current practices and to be reminded of all the RYA support available.”
The RYA’s Guy Malpas said: “The RYA Affiliated Clubs Conferences provide a fantastic opportunity for clubs to network, share success stories and discuss the things that have a real impact – both in our clubs and in the sport. It’s always a pleasure to meet with so many people that are making a difference and we look forward to seeing everyone again at the 2019 conferences later this year.”
See this year’s dates for five conferences in November and early December: HERE
Main image (from RYA) webinar shows participation by type of sailing. All areas are in decline except for yacht racing, which shows a steady participation – if only by 0.2% of the adult population.