Some 35 young sailors from across the Isle of Wight had a very special guest watching them for their morning sail on The Shrape, East Cowes, yesterday (August 10) when HRH The Princess Royal came along to see them take part in the Isle of Wight OnBoard Festival.
The youngsters from sailing clubs across the Island including Brading Haven Yacht Club, Yarmouth Sailing Club, Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Sea View Sailing Club and Island Youth Water Activity Centre (IWYAC), got together to celebrate the skills they have learnt through the RYA OnBoard scheme and compete in some fun team races, including a relay race from the shore.
HRH The Princess Royal, President of the RYA, joined the competitors out on the water aboard a launch from the THV Galatea. Along with RYA CEO Sarah Treseder and RYA Chairman Richard Langford, she enjoyed watching all of the action as the youngsters made the most of the perfect sailing conditions; sunshine with lots of wind.
Once back on shore, HRH was introduced to all the teams who were delighted to tell her how much they enjoyed being out on the water and their favourite things about sailing.
Finally the moment arrived for Richard Langford, Chairman of the RYA, to unveil the day’s winning team which was Royal Victoria YC. Brading Haven YC came second and IYWAC finished in third place.
HRH presented the winning team with a special OnBoard trophy and an individual award was presented to Milo Wrenn from Brading Haven YC who won two of the days races.
“We are so happy to have won” said a very excited Alex,aged nine from the Royal Victoria Yacht Club team “It was really exciting to meet Princess Anne and tell her how long we have been sailing. She watched all my capsizes!”
Daisy (11) from the Sea View team said: “I had a really good day. My favourite part was the last race because it was really exciting and were all trying to sail the very best we could.”
RYA Sailing Development Officer Victoria Lenz who was instrumental in setting up the OnBoard scheme said: “We are delighted that HRH The Princess Royal was able to attend the festival and I hope she enjoyed seeing all the smiles on the sailor’s faces when they were out on the water.
“OnBoard Festivals are all about celebrating sailing skills and this one was extra special as it was the first one on the Isle of Wight. For some of the youngsters out today this was their first experience of a competitive race whilst others have been learning to sail for a couple of years. No matter what their experience, they all had a fantastic time.”
Thank you to LaserPerformance for providing the Bugs, Royal Victoria Yacht Club for providing the safety boats and to all the volunteers who made the event possible.
All the competitors took home medals, certificates and OnBoard goodie bags.
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.
Over a ten year period OnBoard aims to introduce a minimum of 500,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK, converting over 10% of them into regular participants. So far it’s nicely on track.
For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit the RYA’s website www.rya.org.uk or the OnBoard website www.ruob.co.uk