With a year to hit its 10-year target of 50,000 regulars, OnBoard clubs and centres, with the help of their RYA Sailing Development Officers, will be working harder than ever to encourage regular participation in junior windsurfing and sailing nationwide.
But that target isn’t a final destination, as Cat Ferguson, RYA OnBoard Operations Officer, explains: “OnBoard isn’t going to stop once the target is reached.
“OnBoard works, and we would like to give more clubs the opportunity to be part of OnBoard, and will be supporting their efforts to bring more youngsters into the scheme. There’s no doubt that OnBoard will go much further in future years.”
2013 marked the first in a new five-year official charity partnership between OnBoard and the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) to donate boards and boats to selected OnBoarders at RYA Zone and Home Countries Championships.
Selected sailors have exclusive use of a quality board or dinghy for two years, after which that kit will be returned to the sailor’s original OnBoard club so other young OnBoard sailors can continue to benefit.
Rotherham lad Charlie Bennett, 8, received the only BIC Techno board in this first round. He will use it to hone his skills, including at OnBoard sessions at Pugney’s Country Park, Wakefield, in a bid to follow in the footsteps of windsurfing siblings, including brother Joe, part of the British Sailing Team RS:X Podium Potential Squad.
“I love windsurfing, I love all of it. The speed is the best bit. When I’m on the water it makes me feel happy and good. I enjoy making new friends.
“I want to be in the Olympics one day. I’d like to be in the Zone Squad like Joe and my sister, Chloe, were when they were younger, then go to the Junior, Youth and finally Olympic squad like Joe is.
“Joe is my idol and inspires me to achieve in windsurfing. I want to be a coach too like Chloe is. She inspires me to learn more. I like learning new things and want to learn more.
“I want to go to summer camp at Pugney’s again next year because I learnt lots there. I don’t like it if I have to miss training at weekends. It makes me sad. Thank you dad, mum, Chloe and Joe for helping me with my windsurfing.”
For more information about how to get involved in windsurfing visit the RYA’s website www.rya.org.uk or the OnBoard website www.ruob.co.uk
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