Another successful year has passed for the RYA OnBoard team at Grafham Water Centre as it draws into the winter training series for some of the hardy experienced sailors.
In their third consecutive year competing in the Cambridgeshire Youth League sailing event, the OnBoarders finished second, just a few points short of Hunts Sailing Club; quite some achievement as only three years ago the team finished last in the league.
The team is growing from strength to strength with lots of new sailors coming through the door, which gives Gordy Baines, the Onboard development officer for the club, the opportunity to develop the skills for the next generation of sailors.
This year has seen some massive achievements for two of the club’s sailors, with Max Oscroft and Abi Clarke going on to pursue their sailing careers with squad try outs in their Laser dinghies.
Max has had a brilliant year under the Onboard umbrella, participating in every Cambridgeshire Youth League event and finishing in the top 10 for the second year running. The year started off on a high for this young sailor, winning this year’s RYA Eastern Regional Young Sailor of the Year Award which was presented to him at this year’s RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show.
Max attended this year’s National School Sailing Association (NSSA) event at Rutland Water as part of the Cambridgeshire team, and had a successful but challenging event, completing his week by being chosen as one of three representatives to attend the High Flyers Week at the Andrew Simpson Sailing Academy in Weymouth.
Joining Max at the High Flyers week was his sailing buddy Abi Clarke. Both Abi and Max have been with the Onboard team for the last six years, with neither of them having stepped in a boat before attending their OnBoard sessions.
Abi has also attended some of the Youth League events, and at the NSSA Regatta in Rutland this summer she was chosen from the Cambridgeshire team to represent them in the prestigious Mount Haes Trophy Team Racing event. This event has given youngsters like Abi the chance to shine and sail brand new dinghies this year supplied by Laser.
Abi did the team proud, reaching her first ever semi final team racing heat, and like Max was chosen to attend the High Flyers week in Weymouth. Following on from that she is now trying out for the youth Laser squads.
The team are now setting their sights on some winter training to improve their skills, and will no doubt be setting their goals for 2016, which will include the Cambridgeshire Sailing Youth League and next year’s NSSA Regatta in Norfolk.
Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres.
For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit www.rya.org.uk/go/onboard
Grafham Water Centre is an RYA Training, OnBoard and Sailability centre. For more information visit http://www.grafham-water-centre.co.uk/schools-colleges-and-youth-groups/