We take a look back at some of the RYA highlights of 2016.
At the London Boat Show recreational sailor Angus Watson was awarded the RYA Yachtmaster™ of the Year Award for his exceptional demonstration of sailing skills when passing his RYA Yachtmaster™ certificate of competence exam.
Amateur round the world yachtsman Angus was presented with the prestigious trophy, donated by the Royal Institute of Navigation, by the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.
The third edition of the RYA Safety Advisory Notice was also issued at the show, offering a simple digest of critical safety issues.
Heading in to February it was a night of glitz, glamour and awards as racers from offshore, circuit and jet bike, came together to celebrate the successes of the 2015 season at the annual RYA Powerboat Racing Awards.
More than 70 awards were presented throughout the evening including winners of two new industry awards: Pertemps Network and Scarborough Borough Council.
The results of the kill cord and kill switch survey were revealed in February. Over 1,000 respondents from 23 countries took part in the survey aimed at analysing the failures identified and looking for any commonality of cause.
The results of the survey showed that the good practice of testing a kill cord before setting off is fairly widespread. However, it did find there are areas for improvement in maintaining equipment, such as checking kill cords for signs of fatigue, discolouration, stiffening, loss of elasticity and checking the actual kill switch.
March kicked off the 2016 dinghy sailing season at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show. The only show in the world dedicated to all things dinghy saw 8,500 visitors flock to Alexandra Palace to see hundreds of exhibitors, as well as a wide range of coaching sessions, workshops and talks from some of the sport’s biggest names.
During the show Redesmere Sailing Club was crowned RYA Club of the Year 2016, while the UK’s most promising young sailors, windsurfers and powerboaters were unveiled as winners of the RYA Regional Youth Champion Awards.
March also marked the RYA becoming the first national governing body to achieve the Advanced Level of the Sports Councils’ Equality Standard for Sport, recognising the RYA’s commitment to increasing diversity amongst participants in sailing and boating, its staff and committees, and the progress achieved in attaining all four levels of the standard over more than 10 years.
York University scooped the top prize in The Green Blue’s first University Sailing Sustainability Challenge, which set university sailing teams the task of proving their own commitment to sustainable sailing as well as showing how achievable sustainable boating can be to the rest of the boating community.
In Plas Heli more than 325 sailors took part in the RYA Youth National Championships. There were some outstanding performances in all classes, with some championships won with a race to spare while others went down to the wire.
The Princes Royal visited the event and spent the morning greeting the sailors in the boat park before the final day of racing got underway. By the end of the event 18 sailors were selected to represent Great Britain at the EUROSAF Youth Sailing European Championships in Neusiedl am See, Austria.
Almost 500 open days were held across the UK from 14 – 22 May, as thousands of people took part in the RYA Push the Boat Out. Sailing clubs and training centres up and down the country opened their doors offering ‘have a go’ taster sessions.
At the 30th RYA Eric Twiname Championships, Wales were crowned overall team Champions taking home the Shield Trophy. Wales also picked up the Dinghy Trophy following an impressive performance in the Topper and RS Feva classes, with the South East Zone dominating the windsurfing classes.
It was blast off for the 2016 Powerboat GP Championship at the Lowestoft Grand Prix over the Bank Holiday weekend. Some 50 competitors, spanning seven different powerboat classes, battled it out at Oulton Broad for the honour of the first points in the 2016 championship.
Britain’s sailors ruled the waves on the final day of World Cup competition in Weymouth and Portland, winning five golds medals, four silver and four bronze for a total haul of 13 at the final event before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Seven of the British Sailing Team’s Rio representatives secured podium positions on their home waters, with further medal performances from rising talents and Olympic hopefuls for Tokyo 2020.
With one month to go until the 2016 Rio Games, the sailors of the British Olympic and Paralympic teams received a send-off to remember at the seventh quadrennial RYA Sail for Gold Ball.
More than 500 guests showed their support to the 21 Olympic and Paralympic sailors competing in Rio, and Britain’s up-and-coming stars of tomorrow, by packing out the London Hilton on Park Lane.
In the presence of The Princess Royal, President of the RYA, the guests, including some of the biggest names in sailing as well as many from the worlds of commerce, politics, the arts and media, were treated to a feast of entertainment and raised funds to help support the development of world class sailing in Great Britain.
August was action packed with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the Sail for Gold Roadshow and a host of try sailing days.
15 sailors across 10 Olympic Classes began their bid to try to help Team GB claim more sailing medals than any other nation once again when the 2016 Olympic Regatta got underway in Guanabara Bay.
After a week of highs and lows and changeable weather conditions there were golds for Giles Scott (Finn) and Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (470 Women) and silver for Nick Dempsey in the RS:X windsurfing. The medals ensured Britain topped the best sailing nation table for four of the last five Olympics.
During Olympic medal race week the RYA Sail for Gold Roadshow toured the country stopping at eight venues, each with a special connection to our Rio Olympians.
At each location hundreds of visitors got the chance to enjoy free sailing sessions, with members of the British Sailing Team on hand to offer coaching tips, and a host of shore side activities, before heading to the clubhouse to cheer on the sailors in their medal races.
As well as the roadshow more than 40 venues nationwide opened their doors and welcomed 4,500 visitors of all ages and abilities to get afloat with free ‘try sailing and windsurfing’ taster sessions.
It was the end of an era for Paralympic sailing after the curtain officially came down on the Rio 2016 Games.
Two bronze medals for Helena Lucas in the 2.4mR one person keelboat and Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell in the SKUD18 two-person keelboat in the final races of the regatta meant Britain’s sailors finished on the podium twice for the second Paralympics running and achieved their pre-Rio medal target.
Back in the UK the Sail for Gold Roadshow was back on the road for the final stop at Alton Watersports Centre in Ipswich to coincide with the Paralympic sailing medal race day.
Visitors of all abilities enjoyed taster sessions in specially adapted boats provided by local Sailability group the Woolverstone Project.
At the Southampton Boat Show, the 2017 ilovesailing calendar was revealed.
12-year-old Jamie Paterson, from Findhorn Marina, and 15-year-old Kamila Czartolomna, from South Staffs Sailing Club, powered through to be crowned Honda RYA Youth RIB Champions 2016.
RYA Gold members enjoyed an exclusive meet and greet with members of the British Sailing Team fresh from Rio 2016, and the sailors also helped to officially launch the new look RYA Membership.
At the National Windsurfing Championships in Grafham, Axbridge Animals were crowned 2016 Team15 Champions Cup winners.
At the RYA Zone and Home Country Championships over 1,000 of the UK’s best young sailors battled blustery autumnal weather at eight venues around the UK.
Even with the difficult weather conditions all sailors completed at least one day of racing, and at some venues members of the British Sailing Team were on hand to give their top windy weather sailing tips.
In partnership with World Sailing the RYA launched the brand new World Sailing App, the one stop shop for the 2017 – 2020 Racing Rules of Sailing and associated documents for sailors across the globe.
Tickets to the 2017 RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show went on sale. With a packed weekend planned, the show is set to be the perfect way to kick start the season.
Alistair Dickson joined the RYA as the new Director of Sport Development.
Winners of the RYA Volunteer Awards were unveiled celebrating the commitment of the countless volunteers across the country who do fantastic work to support boating in all its forms. Presented by The Princess Royal, a total of 44 awards were presented.
Entries were also opened for the 2016 RYA Youth Champions Awards. 11 awards are up for grabs with the winners announced at the 2017 RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show.
As for December, the Youth Sailing World Championships take place in New Zealand and the team are busy prepping for the London Boat Show.
That is just a taster of what the RYA has been up to this year as we head towards another busy year in 2017 and the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show in March, Push the Boat Out in May and much, much more.
To find out more about the RYA visit www.rya.org.uk